SVETLANA KHACHATUROVA

Svetlana Khachaturova, born 1969, is a Russian artist who lives and works in France. In 2003 she took part in the French residency programme “Encounters of Young International Photography” in Niort and was nominated the same year for the Prix Voies Off in Arles. In 2010 her work received an honourable mention at the QPN photo festival in Nantes and was shown at La Cambre’s photo biennial in Brussels and Photo Phnom Penh. She was subsequently a participant in the touring exhibition Derrière le rideau: L’Esthétique photomaton (Behind the Curtain – The Aesthetics of the Photo Booth) in Lausanne 2011, Brussels 2012 and Vienna 2012. In her works she explores the relationship between reality and representation, using reflections and creating optical illusions.


Wonderful Occupations

Kasernplan
19-28 August 2016

There is a person trying to blow out a candle with a funnel; another is holding a glass of water upside down; a third is listening, composed and concentrated, for a potential echo from a silver spoon.

Who are they? What are they doing? What kind of a strange society relate to everyday objects in such a mysterious way? The nine individuals in this enigmatic series of images have no distinctive features. They were chosen from the artist’s acquaintance, and could be anyone.

At the artist’s request, they stage scenes from popular science magazines from the late seventeenth century: simple scientific experiments of the kind that the French chemist and adventurer Gaston Tissandier, or the fictional character Tom Tit, accounted for, and which were weekly published in the revue La Nature. There is a similar playful approach in the essay L’ombre de l’inventeur by the French Dadaist and poet Louis Aragon. Here Aragon describes the trick of striking a match against a vertical surface and flicking it away, turning the match into a “spatial comet”.  Scientific entertainment has an inexplicable poetic ability to enrich our everyday lives. These small everyday miracles, which used to captivate the surrealists, continue to be a source of fascination. Khachaturova stages the “wonderful occupations” to let us think that photography is like those scientific experiments: a form of apparent evidence that remains inexplicable and produces an effect that is both poetic and magical.

OMAR VICTOR DIOP

Omar Victor Diop was born in Dakar in 1980 and lives and works in Senegal. Since his early days, Omar Victor Diop developed an interest for Photography and Design, essentially as a means to capture the diversity of modern African societies and lifestyles. The quick success of his first conceptual project Fashion 2112, le Futur du Beau which was featured at the Pan African Exhibition of the African Biennale of Photography of 2011 in Bamako (Rencontres de Bamako) encouraged him to end his career in Corporate Communications to dedicate to photography in 2012.


THE STUDIO OF VANITIES, Staged Portraits of Africa’s Contemporary Urban Scene

Kasernplan
19-28 August 2016

These are the fresh faces of the continent’s urban culture. They are African, Arabic, Caucasian, Asian…it doesn’t matter. They are creative and ambitious, but most importantly they dedicate their everyday lives to making their dreams a reality. In this series, the aim is to portray a generation which endeavours to showcase the African urban universe and its blossoming art production.
 
Omar Victor Diops goes beyond the strictly aesthetic depiction of a beautiful youth. Every portrait is the outcome of a collaboration between the sitter and the photographer. “Together we decide on the colour, the decorative elements, the kind of symbols we want to use and the meaning they will have,” he explains. “We don’t think about description, psychology, social statement. But a kind of combination of all elements, each time different, gives the feeling of the complex portrait of a contemporary Africa looking towards its future.”


PROJECT DIASPORA ( SELF- PORTRAITS, 2014)
Kasernplan
19-28 August 2016

During a four-month residency in Málaga, Spain, Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop had the experience of being a stranger. He began his research through history of representations of African people in Europe and collected painted portraits – and biographies – from the 15th to 19th century. He then based the composition of self-portraits on those historical art pieces and added – with great delicacy – contemporary elements, details and signs linked to soccer. With seriousness and humour, he shows how football players have become today’s African celebrities, comparable to those historic figures who were close to kings and powerful people in Europe.

It’s the first time the artist uses himself as a model, as well as being the designer, the character, the photographer, the organiser and the stylist. Playing on the baroque reference of the series, Diop uses a spectacular combination of colour and textures that makes us belatedly realise that the objects are linked to football. The series, referencing both time and history, shows the complexity of a life that balances between glory and recognition, and the notion of being a foreigner. Diop’s historical characters become part of our dialogue about the African diaspora and current questions about migration, integration and acceptance.