John Dugdale, The Clandestine Mind, 1999 ∏ The John Dugdale Studio (detail)

John Dugdale, The Clandestine Mind, 1999 ∏ The John Dugdale Studio (detail)

Published by Time Out Switzerland on 19 June 2016: LINK

An impressive panorama of the origins of photography, mirrored by contemporary artists

When we snap a picture, 190 years of history cascade into that moment, when photography allowed humanity to look at itself other than in a mirror for the first time. To retrace that path, Tatyana Franck, the recently appointed director of the renowned Musée de l’Elysée has put together an exhibition entitled ‘The Memory of the Future – Photographic Dialogues between Past, Present and Future’.

The carefully constructed and beautifully presented show illustrates the endless explorations and laborious processes developed since 1826, when the first photographic portrait was made, and culminates in that little click we dispense with no retinue today.

© Musée de l’Elysée © Victoria Will Association of early and contemporary ferrotypes: (Right) anonymous, (Left) Kristen Stewart by Victoria Will

© Musée de l’Elysée © Victoria Will
Association of early and contemporary ferrotypes: (Right) anonymous, (Left) Kristen Stewart by Victoria Will

To remind us of how it all started, and what photography still means in the age of instant picture gratification, she has programmed what can best be described as a walkup memory’s lane, but with an echo among artists today. The techniques (ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, ferrotypes, cyanotypes, etc.) are brought to life by contemporary photographers whose works are displayed alongside precious historical documents. We take a leap from silver plates to digital pixels and finish the stroll with a walk through part of the Elysée’s visual heritage thanks to 3D digitization made by Artmyn, a recently launched spin-off from Lausanne’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL).

The exhibition is a fine reminder that the status of photography and its relation to art is still in development.

Michèle Laird, née Haffner, trained as a journalist, became an international arts administrator (visual arts and theatre), successively in Paris, New York and London before moving to Switzerland, where she now covers the art beat and presides several associations.

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