Souvenir d’Alsace

La barbarie, Phénakistiscope, 2021

“Souvenir d’Alsace” explores the inner workings of an iconography built, over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and three successive wars, on the close interweaving of picturesque representation and national propaganda.

Charles Fréger draws on historical references borrowed from imagery, illustration, press drawings, manufactured objects and works of historical commemoration. Alsace thus becomes a field for experimentation with these objects of vernacular culture and the mechanisms by which these representations are disseminated.

Carried out over several years, the project involves the participation of local French and German players, intervening at different stages of the creative process. Like the iconography studied and its economy of distribution, which in the industrial age deployed a wide range of media, Charles Fréger’s project brings together various forms of local manufacture, art and craft (ceramics, wooden masks, embroidery, etc.).

The artist’s aesthetic of silhouettes, shadow plays and stage sets is combined with a contemporary reinterpretation of traditional objects. In the long term, this important corpus will offer a panorama of Alsatian visual archetypes, and open the way for reflection on the political forms linked to this iconography, the imaginary world it has forged and the mythology it has served. In a semi-darkness, from which we don’t know whether it emerges or withdraws, the icon inhabits a greyed-out frontier space, where the obviousness it usually displays is not the order of the day.

Souvenir d'Alsace, édition des musées de Strasbourg, Texts by Marie Pottecher, Martine Sadion, Daniel Mollenhauer, Bertrand Tillier, French version, graphic design: Léo Favier, 2023
Archive, L'Alsacienne, Image de Wissembourg
Archive, Studio photo. Strasbourg. around 1910
Archive, L'attente (Waiting), Henri Royer,1915
Fireplace andirons, around 1900

Mariage à Seebach, 2018

13 photographic silhouettes, Inkjet prints,  Photographs shot on the occasion of the Streisselhochzeit, Seebach, France, July 2018

Les alsaciennes, Strasbourg, 2018

Eight ceramic dishes, manufactured by Lunéville-St Clément, France

Transfer printing on ceramics, diameter 32 cm Photographic shots taken at Ateliers M33, Strasbourg, in November 2018 Costumes: Anne Wolff and Jean-Luc Neth. plates: Kalco (transfer printing) and Faïencerie de Lunéville-Saint-Clément.


La danse macabre, théâtre du peuple, Bussang, 2019

La danse macabre, théâtre du peuple, Bussang, 2019 , video instalation,  3’33” 

 Video footage shot at the Théâtre du Peuple – Maurice Pottecher, Bussang, in November 2019, With dancers from the Groupe d’art Populaire de Berstett and the re-enactment groups Les Chiérothains and Landwehr 109, Costume designers: Olivier Bériot and Romain Fazi, Video and editing assistant : Anne-Charlotte Gellez. Assistant.  Choreography: David Berring. sound: Teho Teardo

LLa danse de l'aigle, fort Grossherzog von Baden - Fort Frère, 2019

Archive, propaganda 14-18
Archive, Image d'Epinal, 14-18
La danse de l'aigle, Articulated paper puppet. offset print, 2019

La danse de l’aigle, video installation,  1’16”

Video footage shot at Fort frère, Oberhausbergen 2019 ,  Dancer : Bastien Lefèvre. Costume : Valeria Barrera. Eagle puppet : Jérémy Hazael-Massieux. Video assistant : Simon Fréger. Sound : Emmanuel Savoye. Assistants: Éloïse Ravet & Ramzi Naffah

La danse de l'aigle, photographic print, 145x110 cm, 2019

Ex-voto, Musée alsacien / Manufacture de Luneville-St Clément, 2021

6 ceramic cups, manufactured by Lunéville-St ClémenEight ceramic dishes (10 cm height) *

"Les boches" (d'après Hansi), 2020-22

Archive, illustration by Hansi, 1915
Iltis, Buschwiller, from Wilder Mann, 2014

12 photographs,  Offenbourg, Germany,  2020

with the theater BAden ALsace, Offenbourg Wooden mask : Simon Stiegeler, Grafenhausen  Straw costumes : Werner Baiker, Empfingen. Costume design : Olivier Bériot. Prop : Cinérégie, Strasbourg. costumes : Sastrería Cornejo, Madrid and Opéra national du Rhin


Le paradis perdu, 2022

Raw glazing on earthenware Set of 41 Sarreguemines earthenware plates , saucers, dishes and cups *

Les souvenirs d'Alsace, Théâtre du peuple, Bussang, 2019

23 photographic prints, shot at Théâtre du Peuple – Maurice Pottecher, Bussang, France, November 2019

With the dancers from the Groupe d’art populaire de Berstett and re-enactment groups Les Chiérothains and Landwehr 109 costume designers: Olivier Bériot and Romain Fazi. Sets and props: Opéra de Rouen Normandie, Opéra national du Rhin, Emmanuelle Hérondelle, Étienne David.

Point de croix, 2021

 Red cotton thread embroidery on linen from a photograph, Textile printing: La Coudrerie. embroidery: Élisabeth Dossmann *

Photographic print, 145×190 cm    Détail du Rêve d’Édouard Detaille, peint sur un décor d’opéra, Rouen, vers 1920

Schnug, 2021

15 photographic prints, 145 x 110 cm and 101 x 77 cm

 at Lichtenberg, Haut-Koenigsbourg and Saint-Ulrich castles, in June 2021, with Les Guerriers d’Avalon, Groupe Hanau-Lichtenberg, Hauvoy, La Volerie des aigles and the Château du Haut-Koenigsbourg. Costume designers: Olivier Bériot and Antoine Fréger,.with the help of Charlie Grilhé and Sastrería Cornejo. Props: Cinérégie, Strasbourg, Emmanuelle Hérondelle, and Stéphane Mouflette.

L'obusite, 2021

 Video, 1’16, filmed at L’Odyssée theater in Périgueux, France,  in February 2021

Actor : Jules-Angelo Bigarnet.  Video assistant and editor: Anne-Charlotte Gellez

Les conscrits, pichet anthropomorphe, 2021-2022

95 ceramic anthropomorphic jugs

Project based on a preparatory shoot in Benfeld, June 2019, with dancers from the Groupe d’art populaire de Berstett. With the support of the Musée de la Faïencerie de Sarreguemines. Modeling: Jean-Louis Puivif. 3d design assistants: Éloïse Ravet and Ramzi Naffah.

Kriegslebkuchen, 2022

“Petits soldats” and  “L’homme sauvage”.   Photographs printed with edible ink on unleavened paper, on gingerbread.

Assistants conception : Éloïse Ravet and Ramzi Naffah. with the help of Hervé Bohnert, baker in Strasbourg * 

La lettre à Fifine, 2021-2023

Lettre from Berthe to Fifine (March 1916)
Portrait de Fernand Cholley (September 1915)
Fougerolles war memorial, (detail)

Video animation of a series of drawings,  4’39”

 Documentary research: Christiane Delacroix, with the help of Michel and Anne-Marie Ougier historical advisor: Fred Duval. drawing: Mathieu Ménage. Animation: Alexandre Bourgois, Musée de l’Image, Épinal. sound: Teho Teardo. with the voice of voice of Marie Darrieussecq

Couvre-chefs, 2021-2022

7 photographs, Belfort Belvedere in 2021.   Musée d’Histoire – citadelle de Belfort

Vases made by the CIAV, centre international d’art verrier de Meisenthal: colorless glass blown in the mold, addition of a base, various top finishes (hot trimming or cold transfer), multi-layer sandblasted decoration graphic design assistants: Éloïse Ravet and Ramzi Naffah.

Le pou, 2021

Sculpture in papier-mâché and plaster on wire mesh and wooden frame, 280 x 175 x 85 cm

Produced in Strasbourg with Jacques Tilly & Team in January 2021, with the students of the Haute école des arts du Rhin and their teachers. Volume design: Jacques Tilly.  Color design: Lisa Dünnwald

Réconciliation, 2021-2022

Réconciliation, Emile Derré, Postcard, 1923
Réconciliation, Emile Derré, Postcard, 1923

2 photographs, 101 x 77 cm, shot at Bastion 14, Strasbourg, July 2020, based on Réconciliation. Tu ne tueras plus by Émile Derré (1924),
with Vera Mallien, Étienne Arthur, Hajo Meyer.

Project realized with the Musée alsacien de Strasbourg and La Chambre, Strasbourg. First exhibition curated by Marie Pottecher, director of the musée alsacien. With the support of the Musées de la ville de Strasbourg, the city of Strasbourg, the région Grand Est and the DRAC Grand Est, Ministère de la culture.

With the collaboration of CIAV in Meisenthal, the town of Seebach, the Opéra National du Rhin, the Théâtre du Peuple in Bussang, the Musée de la Faïence in Sarreguemines, the Musée de l’Image in Epinal, the Haute Ecole des Arts du Rhin, the Musée d’Histoire- Citadelle in Belfort.

The book “Souvenir d’Alsace” has been published by Les Editions des Musées de Strasbourg. Editorial director: Lize Braat. Graphic design: Léo Favier.

 Texts by Marie Pottecher, Martine Sadion, Daniel Mollenhauer and Bertrand Tillier. 

* Photographic credit for reproductions of the Ex-voto cups, the gingerbreads (Kriegslebkuchen) and the dishes of the Paradis perdu set: Service photographique des musées de Strasbourg/ Mathieu Bertola.