09 juin 2023 - 01 avril 2024
23-25, quai Saint-Nicolas - 67000 Strasbourg France
The « Souvenir d’Alsace » exhibition presents the result of an artistic residency led by Charles Fréger in Strasbourg, between 2018 and 2022. During this period, the Musée Alsacien and La Chambre welcomed this internationally renowned photographer to lead a large-scale artistic project based on Alsace.
Exploring the picturesque iconography of Alsace, as it developed at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, Charles Fréger questions the construction of identity and its instrumentalization for national ends. Starting with Alsace-Lorraine, as a point of tension between France and Germany, he questions the broader vision of the other, the enemy, or at the very least, the one we designate as such. Illustrations, imagery and, above all, caricature and propaganda provide food for thought for the artist. He combines them with Alsatian and Rhineland folklore. Carnival masks and floats, cross-stitch embroidery and glass-blowing are all used to produce a poetic, nostalgic snapshot of Alsace, whose fearsome effectiveness reminds us just how topical the question of identities and their instrumentalization remains.
Following « Bretonnes » (2011-2014) and « La Suite basque » (2015-2017), « Souvenir d’Alsace » (2018-2022) is the third part of Charles Fréger’s research into regional identities. For this project, he favors silhouetting his subjects, a technique he has already experimented with in previous projects. This approach gives the subject a specific discursive function; by distancing it from an overly factual reality, it places it in the sphere of narrative, or even myth as Roland Barthes understood it, and thus invites a salutary distancing.
The exhibition takes place in six rooms of the Musée Alsacien’s permanent exhibition space, and also extends into the new space adjoining the museum. Nearly 80 works produced by the artist for this project are presented for the first time. Photographs, ceramics, glass, illustrations, video and animated films all bear witness to the close collaboration Charles Fréger has forged with the hundred or so cultural players from the Grand Est and Upper Rhine regions who have been mobilized around this project. Contemporary works also interact with historical pieces from the collections of the Musée Alsacien, other museums in the region and private collections, providing an insight into both the artist’s approach and the rich material culture of the region in which he immersed himself for four years.
Curated by Marie Pottecher, head curator of the Musée Alsacien.
02 février 2015
Waiting for the spring! Good time to introduce the « Bretonnes » series. The book will come out in May with Thames & Hudson for its English version (Titled: Portraits in lace: Breton women) and in French with Actes Sud. Four shows will start in June in Bretagne, with the Musée des Champs Libres in Rennes, the photographic center GwinZegal in Guingamp, the Musée Bigouden in Pont l’Abbé and the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Saint-Brieuc. The series will take place in the four very different contexts of these museums where anthropology, ethnography, history, fashion and photography will connect together around the images. More soon!
31 décembre 2014
How busy 2014 was!
In 2015, will come out the « BRETONNES » book with Actes Sud in French, and Thames & Hudson in English (« Portraits in Lace, Breton women »), simultaneously with the four Bretonnes shows in Bretagne. This series provides a different way to deal with the background and the historic iconography attached to the subject. « Bretonnes » deals with folklorism in this part of France (which is very much alive), and on a broader perspective is focused on the iconic representation of women in the early 20th century. About the other gender, WILDER MANN will be still shown in Italy and France, including a selection of new pictures made this year in England, Ireland and Italy.
And I’m going on with two photographic series in the East (Japan) and in the West (more soon) where Wildness and theatricality still hold a big part in the stories.