Photoquai biennale 2009, Paris
This year’s edition of Photoquai, the second of its kind, features the work of 50 contemporary photographers from mostly ‘non western’ countries. Housed around the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris; the main exhibition is presented outdoors on the banks of the Seine with a second exhibition running inside the museum telling the story of 165 years of Iranian photography.
See images from the outdoor part of the biennale
Started in 2007, Photoquai is the brainchild of Anahita Ghadain Etehadieh, the Iranian art director and founder of the Silk Road gallery in Tehran. Selection for the show is done entirely by her and her board of nine curators, with the strict stipulation that none of the work can have been seen anywhere except for its country of origin prior to the exhibition. The selected work however comes from far and wide, from countries such as Argentina, Peru, Indonesia, China, the Maghreb, Lebanon and Camcasus.
Out of the photographers on show, there were three bodies of work that stood out from the rest:
Pablo Lopez Luz is a Mexican photographer whose large format images document the effect of the growth of Mexico City on the surrounding landscape, in the valley of Mexico. Luz shoots from high vantage points and creates beautifully composed images using roads, and rivers to lead the viewer through the valley highlighting the ecological changes imposed on the landscape.
Argentinean born Hugo Aveta creates small-scale replicas of real buildings and shoots them in his studio giving him the control and freedom of using studio lighting. The lighting is key in creating a dramatic Chiaroscuro effect, blurring the line between documentary and staged photography.
In his series ‘New: Counting Grains of Sand’ Hiromi Tsuchida uses over saturated colours to create an unreal world in which human masses are transformed into “crowds of indeterminate vectoral direction, crowds of distant individuals”. Reminiscent of the large format work of photographers Massimo Vitali and Andreas Gursky.