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The Gacilly Photo Baden Festival, Part. 1


This summer, the Austrian edition of the La Gacilly festival was back for its sixth year, with a programme based on history, commitment and poetry. Here’s an overview.

Every year for the past six years, the La Gacilly photography festival has transported its exhibitions to the town of Baden, an hour south of Vienna. Throughout the summer, the famous spa town has been the setting for photographs of the 2022 edition, as well as several other exhibitions organised specifically for the town.

The Austrian edition of La Gacilly was the brainchild of Lois Lammerhuber, a photographer and publisher who has lived in Baden for several years: “In 2017, I presented one of my books on baobabs at La Gacilly. I thought it was a great festival and suggested to Jacques Rocher that we organise it in Baden. We decided to give it a three-year trial run. We’re now in our sixth year. Working hand in hand with his wife Silvia, he has succeeded in transforming the former retreat of the Habsburg family into a city of photography.

The course of the Austrian festival is divided between two areas of the city: the Gutenbrunner and Doblhoff parks, where the majority of the photographs from the Breton festival can be found, and the heart of Baden, which hosts exhibitions by local photographers.

This year, a superb exhibition highlights the work of Rudolf Koppitz. A major figure in Austrian photography between the wars, Koppitz made a major contribution to the recognition of the medium as an art form in its own right. The vaporous atmosphere and deliberate blurring of his early images point towards Pictorialism. In the 1920s, his nudes and portraits took on a more frank style. He abandoned ethereal scenes in favour of dynamic poses, such as this young girl bent over in a rope jump or his famous Etude de mouvement from 1925, which solemnly covers a whole section of the courtyard of the buildings surrounding the exhibition.

Further on, a tribute to Horst Stasny, the doyen of Austrian photography, scrolls through the most iconic images of the man who contributed to the advent of advertising photography. Staging, humour and aesthetic playfulness are the hallmarks of his photographs, and the collection on display is a highly eclectic one.

One of Lois Lammerhuber’s favourite spaces is the market square, surrounded by photographs taken by the non-governmental organisation Reporters Without Borders. For the creator of La Gacilly Baden, it’s important that they become part of the everyday life of the town’s inhabitants. By blending in with life in this way, these images “get under our skin”.


La Gacilly-Baden Photo Festival

From June 15th to October 15th, 2023

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