On all continents, at all latitudes, there are places whose name resonates like an invitation to travel. Each of us has our own itineraries, dreams of our own destinations, and whatever happens we’ll get there one day. The key may be – without doubt? – in these entrancing sounds, in these clear or indistinct images, in these memories of something read long ago, of almost forgotten films. Anchorage, Pondicherry, Death Valley Junction, Timbuktu, Mogador, Odessa, Alice Springs, Ulan Bator, Ullapool… Who can resist?
And then there is Valparaiso, city fantasised about by all lovers of photography who have, once leafed through, acquired, cherished like a treasure the modest book where, within beige covers, thirty-seven images by Sergio Larrain dating mainly from 1963 are assembled, with a text by his friend Pablo Neruda. Larrain, a real meteorite of 20th century photography offers an essay about this Chilean port city that is both documentary and poetic at the same time.
Now a cult series of images, that will have at least influenced and inspired several generations of photographers. In a way, the figure of Larrain is also connected to the existence of the Festival Internacional de Fotografía in Valparaiso which, each year since its inception in 2010, hosts photographers-in-residence who bring to it their vision of the city or one of its key aspects, their work later being shown in the city and, more often than not, published in book form.
The four artists together here – Françoise Nuñez, Gilles Favier, Alberto García-Alix et Anders Petersen – produced the images shot in the framework of these residencies. Together, they make up a portrait, both fragmented and coherent, of this city, where they operated with total freedom, integrating it into a broader project while staying faithful to their own styles. Four distinguished personalities, four distinct views, four ways of seeing and showing.
Poetic strolling, wind in the face, mind open to what the day presents for Françoise Nuñez; images by turn serene, incongruous and illusory for Alberto García-Alix; empathetic and humanistic attraction to the margins of society for Gilles Favier; dazzling vision, cutting edge of a harsh world, of a reality confronted head-on by Anders Petersen… Streets that snake through the hills as far as the sea, sailors and ships, electric cables, children, young women more or less dressed, Charlie Chaplin and Che Guevara, an accordionist… and then the pelicans, omnipresent, apparently inseparable from Valparaiso.
Until 14th January 2017
Chaussée de Vleurgat 102