The “Pandemic (s)” exhibition presented at Visa pour Image provides a first assessment of the Covid-19 epidemic around the world. Collective project, the plural leaning against Pandémie (s) manifests as much the singular outlook of each of the photojournalists as the multiple consequences of this crisis.
For the first time, the Covid-19 forces festival-goers in Perpignan to advance masked and to follow a signposted route on the ground. On the walls of the Minimes Convent, it is the subject of a collective project. Pandemic (s) is an illustrated account of the spread of the coronavirus around the world, “the major event of the turn of the century,” recalls the introductory text.
The choice was made to present the photos in chronological order. The starting point of the exhibition is therefore that of the epidemic: Wuhan, this Chinese city that became the center of the world at the end of January 2020. At that time, the French did not yet know that they were are going to be confined like half of humanity a handful of weeks later. “I was the first to say it was just the flu and we were overdoing it! “, Recalls Marie, a Visa pour Image patron.
Throughout the exhibition, the photos bear witness not only to the spread of the epidemic around the world, but also to the regression of freedoms and the abandonment of public space. The police presence around visitors echoes that frozen on the walls of the exhibition hall.
The images of shopping centers taken by storm, heroes in white coats and coffins lined up by dozen strike like so many flashbacks recalling the highlights of this crisis. An unprecedented situation where we have seen hospitals built in a few days in China, TGV wagons converted into an intensive care unit or an empty Mecca for the first day of Ramadan.
The reconquest of public space is only partial in an environment where human beings advance masked. And the application of the health protocol for exiting the exhibition also reminds visitors that the pandemic is not yet behind them.