Artist file


Michael von Graffenried * 1957 in Berne, lives in Paris

Michael von Graffenried has made a name for himself thanks to several ironic series about the Swiss, such as Swiss Image in 1989. The use of the panoramic format, which he masters brilliantly, was an almost obvious choice during the second civil war in Algeria. He has been using it since 1991. Taking photographs in Muslim countries is not well accepted, all the more so in a country torn by fratricidal war, which involves great risks. For that reason, Michael von Graffenried walked around wi [...]

Michael von Graffenried has made a name for himself thanks to several ironic series about the Swiss, such as Swiss Image in 1989. The use of the panoramic format, which he masters brilliantly, was an almost obvious choice during the second civil war in Algeria. He has been using it since 1991. Taking photographs in Muslim countries is not well accepted, all the more so in a country torn by fratricidal war, which involves great risks. For that reason, Michael von Graffenried walked around with a Widelux camera that was hung around his neck at chest level, so that he could use it without looking through the viewfinder, covering a 160° angle. As the spiral of violence grew stronger, Michael von Graffenried was one of the few photographers who still travelled to Algeria. After travelling there more than 30 times during the “leaden years”, he made, amongst other things, a film that was written with film director Mohammed Soudani, which recounts his travels in order to find trace of the people he had photographed on his previous trips. In PANORAMIC SCENES, the Centre de la photographie Genève is showing for the first time photographs that were taken during his artist residency in Cairo in 2007. Since he could neither print them, nor show them in the planned gallery – as the local people in charge feared police intervention – the photographer finally showed them for one day on Cairo’s rooftops, where the Bawab populations live – the most poverty-stricken people in the Egyptian capital city. Each of these two photographies are associated to mini video screens, showing moving pictures, capted by the artist on you tube during his journey in Cairo; the first one is linked to the photography School's out of girls in Ard EL Lewa, Cairo, and shows us a video representing youngsters singing to seduce young girls whereas in the other video linked to Riot Police is closing access to Al Azahr Mosque on friday, february 9, 2007, you can see a policeman torturing a prisoner by slapping his face.

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