Festival d’Avignon by Stéphane Couturier & Frédéric Nauczyciel

Elizabeth Izzo

Festival d’Avignon by Stéphane Couturier & Frédéric Nauczyciel

Located at Cloître Saint-Trophime

The Festival d’Avignon is an annual festival of arts that is held in July in Avignon, France. The festival was founded in 1947.

The artist statement that accompanies it can best describe the exhibition of photos from the Festival d’Avignon:

“…we have invited, over four consecutive years from 2007 to 2010, an artist working in photography to cast his or her gaze over an edition of the Festival d’Avignon, transforming it into a subject to be revealed in a different way and each time with a different theme: the public, the actor, memory and, then, scenography.”

Two of these “gazes” are displayed in the exhibit I saw yesterday: Frédéric Nauczyciel displayed his view on the public during various performances, and Stéphane Couturier displayed his view on architecture and scenography of the festival.

Frédéric Nauczyciel took long exposure shots of audiences during performances at the festival. I found them interesting because they generally lasted the entire duration of the show. It makes me wonder what kind of camera was used, and what settings were used in order to have the shutter open for so long without getting a completely white photo. I enjoyed the concept of focusing on the audience as well. I often focus on the actors when I think of performances, so this exhibit opened my mind to a new focus.

King Lear (Pause duration 4hrs 30mins with intermission) -Frédéric Nauczyciel

King Lear (Pause duration 4hrs 30mins with intermission)
-Frédéric Nauczyciel

I singled out this image of the audience at a performance of King Lear because while I enjoyed the concept as a whole, King Lear was the only play I recognized. I found myself excited by my ability to recognize the subject of a foreign photographer in a foreign country, so this one became my favorite.

When I first saw Stéphane Couturier’s photos, I was rather far away from them. I thought they captured the space well, but they didn’t captivate me. When I moved in closer, I was surprised and instantly enthralled. His framed photos are made up of smaller, individual photos of details in the space. My photo doesn’t do it justice, but the Arles in Black website does.

Stéphane Couturier

Stéphane Couturier

I’ve seen and worked with composite photographs before in my CAS 111 Digital Image class last year. In class, the composite photos we saw were constructed either in a grid with borders around each individual photo, or the photos overlapped in a way that made it obvious it was not all one photo. Of course, the artists I saw in class were not necessarily going for the same effect as Couturier, but I found his technique the most interesting. I liked the idea of challenging my brain to deconstruct the images making up the whole.

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