The exhibition ‘ça c’est genève! THIS IS GVA’ presents three photographers from French-speaking Switzerland, including two from Geneva, who have taken a closer look at Geneva in recent years.
They are therefore not commands and the angles of attack chosen by Alain Julliard, Francis Traunig and François Vermot draw our attention to places that we rarely visit (apart from those working in the International Geneva) or only by car or to which we simply do not pay attention.
That’s Geneva! THIS IS GVA !’ is part of the exhibitions exploring the city or region as proposed by the CPG. In the past with “Quoi de 9/11 photographers de l’arc lémanique” in 2002, “Jeunevois” in 2008 and “Cherche appartement” in 2013
Even though Alain Julliard (*1959) photographs the most frequented places in the city centre, he still manages to give us a representation far from the postcard by insisting on the gaps in the squares or by photographing a covered place, putting the city in the background. Popular districts such as the Junction, Plainpalais or Rive often appear with closer scennettes and more outlying districts appear in the autumn fog. Alain Julliard has compiled a complete inventory of the city, going as far as the motorway contours, without forgetting the magnificent parks, inherited from the great Geneva bourgeoisie.
Francis Traunig (*1954) has compiled an inventory of the interfaces that separate the houses from the street but allow us to have a glimpse of the interior, i.e. the windows and other fronts of commercial spaces that are called, in Geneva, in such an elegant word and that always remind us of Bern, Turin or Venice: Arcade. The result is most surprising with a pinch of humour that we know so well to the author. One of his works that made him known in the world of photography was a series of portraits of the inhabitants of the Pâquis district inside an arcade, in front of the walls filled with jackets and other clothing from the arcade that the photographer manages in Geneva.
Taking as a frame for his photography the frame of the window at the risk of sometimes being reflected in it, the windows create screens and generally prevent any depth. The commercial showcase as a place to display merchandise was poetically theorized by Walter Benjamin in his unfinished work Das Passagenwerk and Francis Traunig's proposal can also be seen as a continuation of the group exhibition at the 2015 CPG Commodity Fetishism. Francis Traunig had already exhibited at the CPG, among other things, in 2002 with another theme specific to Geneva: its inhabitants possessing a weapon.
François Vermont (*1988), a Fribourger by adoption born in the canton of Neuchâtel, had the excellent idea of fixing the interiors of the Palais des Nations in pictures before his youthful coup planned for the coming years. Built between 1929 and 1937 by five architects because the jury was unable to select a single winner. Raised and partially enlarged between 1950 and 1952 and completed with a conference room between 1968 and 1973, the building is an architectural patchwork and François Vermot makes it look good. His attentive gaze captures the different eras that are being grafted on, the wear and tear of the place over time, the furniture of different eras that sometimes gives signs of fatigue. Not renovated since its construction, the site was started in March 2017 and is expected to be completed in 2023.
The "Palais des Nations" will be accompanied by a publication with the same title and published by the editions of the Centre de la photographie Genève and the Zurich-based publisher Scheidegger& Spiess. Michael Moller, Director General of the UN Geneva, will write a preface and a day of conferences on building and international organization will be held in March 2017.