LIGNE DE FOND exhibition


« Enquête photographique neuchâteloise » 2014-2015

Musée des beaux-arts du Locle, Switzerland.


Opening: November 7, 18h00.



Our vision of the world is photographic. Since the birth of the medium in the 19th century, photographs have been entrusted with documenting the natural and built environments, both close at hand and further afield. Neuchâtel’s photographic survey forms part of this tradition. The origins of this biennial project lie in an initiative begun by La Chaux-de-Fonds’ city library. For this inaugural survey, photographer Yann Mingard has concentrated on detailed observation of the landscape. Travelling from Neuchâtel to La Chaux-de-Fonds , and closely following the intended route of the TransRun, Mingard investigates the landscape around Neuchâtel. Through his images of transient spaces, the exhibition invites the public to consider the relationship between the canton’s “upper” and “lower” regions, cities and countryside, as well as the link between the lakeshore and the mountains. Ligne de fond [Bottom Line], created by graphic artist Thibaud Tissot and published by Scheidegger & Spiess, will also come out to mark the occasion. It brings together texts by Thierry Béguin, Jacques-André Humair, François Hainard and Nathalie Herschdorfer.

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GLOBALE: Exo-Evolution

The exhibition focuses on the artistic use of new technologies and opens up views into the future, in various modules. It shows us our new reality, which is shaped by 3-D printers and robots, cyborgs and chimeras, molecules and gene pools, wearable technologies and medical miracles, synthetic life forms, bionic suits and silicon retinas, artificial tissue and repair techniques, and new discoveries in space research, molecular biology, neurology, genetics, and quantum information science. It shows us visions and solutions for twentieth-century problems, such as separating oxygen out of CO2 to combat the climate crisis.

When humans began walking upright, feet turned into hands. Human beings used their hands to create works. These works included tools. Walking upright set human hands free to be used as tools, making human beings themselves “the first of the creation left [sic] free” (J. G. Herder, Outlines of a Philosophy of the History of Man, 1803).

From manual to mental tools, from the hammer to language, over the course of thousands of years human beings have created a culture of tools, an engineering culture that has expanded the boundaries of perception and of the world. The human being has outsourced his bodily functions: the hand to the hammer, the foot to the wheel, the arms to the bow and arrow, the spoken word to the written word, memory to clay tablets and computers, etc. Through the chain of rendering things exterior, the human being transcends evolution. He liberates himself from the violence of nature; he creates an artificial exo-evolution through his tools and through organs made exterior. From exo-biology to exo-planets, from exo-skeletons to »exo-pregnancy«, the contours of a new world deeply marked by technology are taking shape. In the early twenty-first century, art also can no longer stand apart from this technological development.

Traditionally art was focused on representing that which the human eye naturally perceived. When rendering the world of objects visible, painters were trapped in retinal effects and limited to the surface of things. From the microscope to computed tomography, technologies of perception have developed in science. Objects unrecognizable to the naked eye have been artificially made visible. New media bring the technologies of artificial perception, from photography to the computer, into the realm of art. This creates a new awareness of the interconnection of natural and artificial perception, of the object world and the media world, and of art and science. Media are not, however, merely image and sound machines; they are also interfaces in the construction of new realities and new forms of communication. We communicate, negotiate and act through media. The transformation from visual to social media makes clear that the use of media is a vital factor. Media are performative. Their impact is ubiquitous and long-lasting. That is why we speak not only of pictures, but rather of picture acts (Bildakten), not only of language, but of language acts, not only of perception but of acts of perception. Actions have become art forms. Now that a certain amount of overlap exists between the tools of artists and those of scientists, artists’ studios sometimes resemble scientific laboratories and vice versa. Artists today are less in search of subjective expression. Rather, their frames of reference are social systems and scientific structures and methods. This is the reason for new research areas such as art and science labs and art-based research. Scientization of art is beginning to emerge as it did during the Renaissance, creating a sort of Renaissance 2.0.

FOTOFESTIVAL Mannheim by Urs Stahel


The exhibition [7] Places [7] Precarious Fields installs, in [7] museums and art venues, [7] precarious fields of our society today and discusses them on the basis of chiefly contemporary photographic and video works. 
In a blend of documentary and artistic works, of murals, projections, installations, showcase works, films and videos, a discursive climate that is also optically visible is to be generated, a climate that meets the requirements for dealing with these themes. The exhibition deals with uprooting, delocalization, alienation, with high-tech production and social control, with real and virtual migration; with aggrandized self-images, highly-strung psyches, inordinate rapacity, with narcissism and loss of self-control, and finally with violence, surveillance and punishment. And, of course, communication and control through photographic images will likewise be a central focus of the project.

Via the works of photographers and artists, the [7] exhibitions intend to look these real situations in the face. Even if every reflection on the real always contains something fictive at the same time: Photography (photographers and artists) has always dealt particularly intensively, in recent decades, with social and economic relationships in today’s world. The crucial point of the exhibitions will be that it will not be classic photographic thinking that is brought to bear (pointing its finger, this thinking believes it can name the world’s problems and, through naming, solve them), but contemporary and videographic positions that get to work in these critical, precarious fields, that work inside them – questioning, seeking, testing, formulating.!yann-mingard/c9wa



Format Festival/ Beyond Evidence


BEYOND EVIDENCE: An incomplete narrative of photographic truths

Featuring; Larry Sultan & Mike Mandel, Yann Mingard, Andrea Botto, Thomas Keen & Eyal Weizman, Mishka Henner, Simon Menner, Regine petersen, LA-X Collection Klaus Weidner, Tiana Doan na Champassak, Sara- Lena Mairhofer, Lukas Einsele, Miti Ruangkritya, Giorgio Di Noto, Tiphanie Mall, Joãn Pina, Cristina De Middel, Natasha Caruana, Murray Ballard, Edmund Clark, Arianna Arcara & Lars Sentese, Stephanie Solinas, Justice for Domestic Workers with Werker Magazine.

Curated by Lars Willumeit and Louise Clements.

QUAD Gallery: 13 March – 7 June


Surveillance 2 / East Wing Gallery

Opening 12 March 2015

East Wing presents Surveillance.02, an exhibition of interdisciplinary artists whose practice incorporates camera, satellite, and drone to critique corporate and state surveillance, and energy production. Fueled by anxiety, anger, and humor, these artists document the various consequences of surveillance, and remix their findings as commentary. The featured works challenge the fluid notion of privacy, expose humanity’s permanent impact on the environment, and point to the major tangles at the center of it all: individual vs. type, convenience vs. security.

The exhibition includes the premiere of a new audio / visual work by UK Artist Edmund Clark, « Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann’d’.

and a special screening of Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon’s ‘World Brain’, a full-length film that operates as a hybrid of documentary, fiction, and how-to guide by assembling elements of science and folklore. Among the many subjects investigated are: data farms, the collective intelligence of kittens, high-frequency trading, and the law of the jungle according to Wikipedia. Special Screening on Tuesday 24 March at 19:00 (admission free – seating limited to book email:

The presenting artists are:

Massimo Berruti – Hidden Wounds
Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin – Shtik Fleisch Mit Tzvei Eigen
Edmund Clark - ’Dulce et Decorum Est: Virtue Unmann’d’.- PREMIERE
Tomas van Houtryve – Blue Sky Days (2015 World Press Photography Award honouree)
Yann Mingard - Deposit
Jenny Odell - Land Marks
Stéphane Degoutin and Gwenola Wagon - World Brain (Special Screening 24 March)


Deposit/Kunst Bulletin


Cynthia Krell :  Wie und an welchen Orten verwaltet die säkulare Gesellschaft ihr immaterielles und virtuelles Erbe und damit auch ihre Zukunft? Mit dieser Fragestellung hat sich der Westschweizer Yann Mingard beschäftigt und fotografische Antworten konstruiert - zwischen Sachlichkeit und post-apokalyptischer Fiktion.


Folkwang Museum Deposit solo show

Exhibition views



DEPOSIT at FoMu, Belgium

20.02.15 – 07.06.15

Curator: Iris Sikking


The documentary project Deposit by the Swiss photographer Yann Mingard (°1973) confronts us with provocative and germane questions about the current state, sustainability and future of life on earth. Can we control life on the planet by collecting and storing genetic, biological and human information? Mingard went on a journey of discovery and brought back images of four types of stored information: Plants, Animals, Humans and Data.

From 2009 to 2013, Mingard visited 21 locations in Europe where organic and digital  data are gathered and stored. He photographed both the interior spaces of these seed banks, vaults and laboratories and the organisms themselves, the containers they are stored in and the instruments used for development and research.

But for what purpose is living matter being stored on such a grand scale? Is it to create resistant plants, to clone animals, to eliminate human disease? Why are companies and individuals storing digital data in secure bunkers?

Tellingly, Mingard had great difficulty gaining access to the storage locations. His images thus capture the paradoxical nature of these places: in order to protect and preserve life, it is hidden away in containers and closely-guarded bunkers that are sealed off from the outside world. His darkened, large-format photographs convey the secretiveness and the inaccessibility of this natural heritage.

Deposit is a collaboration between Fotomuseum Winterthur, Museum Folkwang, Essen, FotoMuseum Antwerp and GwinZegal, Guincamp. With support from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.


Lianzhou foto festival award


Happy to announce that I’m the winner of the « Artist of the Year Award » at the Lianzhou Foto Festival 2014

More infos:



Paris Photo Plateforme 2014

A video of the « Plateforme » at Paris Photo curated by Urs Stahel.

10 minutes in french.

More infos:








DEPOSIT solo show at the Candy factory

21 November – 22 December 2014

More infos: 

Solo show at ROBERT MORAT Berlin


29 November 2014- 31 January 2015

DEPOSIT is a photographic project about hidden places, the strong belief in technology, people’s fear of the future and the presumption that storing and archiving gentic, biological and human data will make the future a safer place. In his project, Swiss photographer Yann Mingard puts up for discussion the trust we put in technology. Between 2009 and 2013 Mingard visited 12 places where human, vegetable, animal, cultural and digital data is collected and stored. He photographed the architecture of these deposits, the landscape, the archived objects and captures the paradox quality of these places: In order to protect and preserve life, it is locked away in containers and stored in bunkers.

Yann Mingard, born in 1973, studied at the École Supérieure des Arts Visuels in Vevey in Switzerland. Fotomuseum Winterthur devoted a major solo museum exhibition to DEPOSIT in spring 2014. This exhibition traveled to Essen’s Folkwang Museum, where it will be on show until January 18, 2015. The book to he project was published by Steidl Verlag.


More infos:


Oct 18, 2014- January 18, 2015

How does our secular society manage its heritage and in doing so its future? By collecting and archiving data with near-religious zeal: human DNA in the form of slivers of umbilical cord, dental samples and sperm, DNA of animals already extinct in the wild, the seeds of all manner of (agricultural) plants. And, of course, vast quantities of digital data that we leave behind on the big data highways of the internet, credit card statements and official registers. From 2009 to 2013, Swiss photographer Yann Mingard (born 1973) documented this avid pursuit of collection and storage in images that raise many of the unasked but pressing questions of our time.

Deposit is being organized together with Fotomuseum Winterthur. The exhibition was kindly made possible by Pro Helvetia.



Hordes & Nuées
Ecole supérieure d’Arts appliqués, CEPV, Vevey, 13.09. – 05.10.2014
Exposition dans le cadre du Festival Images, vernissage : 13.09., 13h-17h

Avec / with : Pauline Aellen, Vicky Althaus, Yvan Alvarez, David Amaral, Jean Luc Andrianasolo, Yannic Bartolozzi, Mehdi Benkler, Matthias Bruggmann, Stefan Burger, Sami El Kasm, Guillaume Epars, Valentin Faure, Léa Favre, Matthieu Gafsou, Mathilde de Galbert, David Gagnebin-de Bons, Anne Golaz, Roberto Greco, Shannon Guerrico, Sandrine Gutierrez, Yann Haeberlin, Nicole Hametner, Cécile Hesse & Gaël Romier, Yann Laubscher, Olivier Lovey, Lisa Lurati, Mathilde Magnée, Yann Mingard, Aso Mohammadi, Laura Morales, Johanne Morrison, Giona Mottura, Eric Nehr, Marie Nussbaumer, Mathilda Olmi, Taiyo Onorato & Nico Krebs, Virginie Otth, Antigoni Papantoni, Jean-Noël Pazzi, Dylan Perrenoud, Augustin Rebetez, Jonathan Roessel, Paul Rousteau, Juliette Russbach, Diego Saldiva, Nicolas Savary, Charles de Senarclens, Tilo Steireif, Valentina Suter, Marie Taillefer, Vincent Tille, Christophe Voisin, Benoît Vollmer, Annabelle Zermatten.

L’exposition Hordes & Nuées explore nos rapports à l’animalité. De l’esprit de meute dissolvant l’individu dans une impulsion collective, au pas de deux farouche des proies et des prédateurs, l’exposition sonde la dimension sauvage de nos penchants. Une parade fougueuse et charnelle où la férocité se teinte de tendresse, où la brutalité des gestes se fond dans la grâce des postures. Humains et animaux s’apprivoisent, s’esquivent, se convoitent, se dévorent, se domptent tour à tour.

Hordes & Nuées rassemble cinquante-six photographes liés à l’École de photographie de Vevey – étudiants actuels et anciens en majorité, mais aussi intervenants et enseignants.

REPAIRES at PhotoforumPasquart, Biel, Switzerland

« La série Repaires de Yann Mingard (1973, CH), aux images apparemment simples et dénuées d’effets spectaculaires, questionne nos rapports actuels à la nature et nous invite discrètement à nous plonger dans un espace-temps devenu peu ordinaire. Dans un territoire restreint comme la Suisse, le paysage à l’état «  sauvage  », la nature vierge, existent-ils encore dans notre culture ou subsistent-ils uniquement sous forme de mythes – patriotiques, romantiques ou écologiques ?
Lors de ses repérages, le photographe a côtoyé les bêtes diurnes ou nocturnes à l’heure bleue où le silence souligne la transition entre deux mondes. Les pierres, herbes, branches et feuilles jonchant le sol, dont les images rendent si bien les textures végétales ou minérales, constituent des lieux de passage et des abris fragiles qui gardent quelques traces intimes du corps des animaux absents. Invisibles, ces derniers échappent à la chambre photographique qui représente une intrusion de l’homme dans leur refuge, protection précaire face à cette agression inattendue…
Sans être vivant, les photographies paraissent vides alors que leur composition complexe suggère la densité d’une présence au monde. Les images en plongée sur le sol, comme l’absence d’échappées vers le ciel, nous incitent à prendre le risque de nous immerger dans la nature – ou ce qu’il en reste – juste avant la perte de tous repères, dans l’ambiguïté du crépuscule. »
Nassim Daghighian
 » [...] The palette of Mingard’s photographs is muted, and the shadows are sooty and mysterious. These are not sweeping vistas, but private corners of the forest floor. Intimate and tightly cropped, they are pictures of experience; of a person discovering a lair in the woods, an animal returning home, and of day turning to night. [...] »
Phillip Prodger

UNSEEN Amsterdam

East Wing will present Yann Mingard’s, DEPOSIT at the upcoming UNSEEN – Photography Fair Amsterdam and Yann will be part of a panel discussion Fri 19th September/Time:15.45 – 17.30 Venue:Living Room. There will also be a book signing (details to follow) – watch this space!

East Wing at Unseen:





Entretien avec le photographe Yann Mingard (1973, CH) à l’occasion de l’exposition Deposit au Fotomuseum Winterthur (8 mars au 25 mai 2014) accompagnée d’une importante publication. La rencontre a eu lieu à Lausanne le 7 février avec Nassim Daghighian, historienne de l’art.



Exposition collective à la Galerie C, Neuchâtel.

Du 24.04. au 31.05.2014.

Vernissage, le 24 avril, 18h00.

La Liberté

Article dans La Liberté:


Four samples of Swiss parks will come and occupy the parking space on the Avenue Vinet, representing Basel, Bern, Geneva and Zurich in Lausanne Jardins 2014. The structure designed to contain these green fragments is known as the “Mobiflore”. It is simple and can be easily adapted to fit a variety of parking situations.
Each garden room comes with an image reflecting the extraction performed in the guest park.
As a mirror in each town, the parks will present a photography of the piece of the garden installed at the Avenue Vinet.


Yann Mingard, Catherine Cotting, Fulguro




Deposit your reply ( max 200 characters)

Lars Willumeit new website


Music by Ben Frost for the Deposit project

Download and enjoy the Ben Frost music made for the Deposit project:

Ben Frost website:

DEPOSIT / Le Temps Sortiré


Yann Mingard expose les lieux de stockage de notre patrimoine


 Les images sont regroupées en quatre chapitres: graines, animaux, humains et données. Y défilent, dans une esthétique extrêmement sobre et précise, un local de l’Institut de préservation des pollens à Saint-Pétersbourg, une banane cultivée in vitro à Louvain, un biberon de sperme d’étalon récolté à Avenches, le mausolée de Lénine, une banque de sang islandaise ou encore un data center suédois. Yann Mingard s’attarde sur les portes blindées, les murs épais, les lieux six pieds sous terre et les bocaux parfaitement étanches; la vie qu’on enferme pour mieux la préserver. Un regard à la fois analytique et artistique sur l’un des enjeux de notre société, si prompte à tout mesurer et consigner.

Le précédent travail du photographe romand consistait en une promenade dans les sous-bois (Repaires, publié chez Hatje Cantz), focus sur les épines d’un résineux, vue sur un tapis de feuilles mortes ou des branchages entremêlés.

Parallèlement à Deposit – et jusqu’au 24 août –, se tient l’exposition Surfaces. New Photography from Switzerland,dédiée à la manière d’appréhender la matière et l’imperméabilité.

Grüzenstr. 44, Winterthour, Ma je-di 11h-18h, me 11h-20h du 8 mars au 25 mai, (Rens. 052/234 10 60,

Une plongée froide dans les tréfonds de notre civilisation

© Caroline Stevan





Deposit is a photography project that deals with the preservation of genetic material and other kinds of data. The development of our society is causing us to rethink the significance of our heritage. Collecting, archiving, storing, and risk management strategies—to no small extent these activities play on feelings of insecurity and fear. Banks for blood, sperm, umbilical cord samples, and stem cells are established under public or private oversight. Companies offer to freeze DNA or stem cells as a means of potentially healing future diseases. The same phenomena can be observed with computers and digital data. In his project Yann Mingard (born 1973), a photographer from the French part of Switzerland, questions our faith in these technologies, concentrating on the architecture, landscapes, and details of what is conserved. Between 2010 and 2013 he visited 21 central locations where one can trace the development of the preservation of human, plant, animal, cultural, and digital legacies. A co-operative production of the Fotomuseum Winterthur and Museum Folkwang Essen.

Fotomuseum Winterthur  08.03.2014-25.05.2014

Museum Folkwang Essen  11.10.2014-18.01.2015

Book available in March 2014 at Steidl Verlag

EMPILEMENTS Exposition du 12 mai au 31 juillet 2013


Que représentent les murs en pierres sèches pour le Valais et ses habitants?  Le photographe Yann Mingard a construit sa réponse à partir d’images existantes. En 6 affiches, il invite le visiteur à cheminer dans un monde pixellisé, entre nostalgie et réalité.  Cette exposition est le fruit d’une résidence de quatre mois à la Villa Ruffieux à Sierre. 

Exposition au Musée valaisan de la Vigne et du Vin, Sierre, Suisse.



Lausanne Jardins 2014

Together with Catherine Cotting Architect and Fulguro Design/Atelier, we won one of the 3 prizes of the contest LAUSANNE JARDINS 2014


CYANURE de Séverine Cornamusaz


Avant-première à Soleure le 26 janvier 2013.

Sortie en salle en Suisse romande le 27 février 2013.

Pour visionner les photographies de plateau et portraits des acteurs:

By Joerg Colberg : My favourite photobooks in 2012




Interview sur mon projet DEPOSIT et ma résidence avec GWIN ZEGAL




Books on Migration, curated by Irène Attinger

Currently, the authorities of numerous countries are unremittingly trying to isolate the migratory movements of people, however these migrants have always had a profound impact that has resulted in a ripple effect in the political, economic and humane environments. For example, historically, people left Europe for the United States seeking amnesty, in the beginning of the twentieth century. Poor people migrated from the cornbelt to California. Even now, many poor farmers migrate through China, recurring famines drive hundreds of thousands of people in Sahel into forced wandering and the situation of the Roma people is more and more exasperated. The paradox of the proclaimed theme of free circulation within the European Union is advertised while the reality, passage is increasingly controlled and difficult with the majority of the states aiming to destroy the migrants’ lifestyle. Simultaneously, North America and Europe barricade against emigrants of any origin.
This on-going sensitive and difficult topic is the subject of these books as well as showing how photography can express complex issues. I try to illustrate them through various books published, covering a broad period of time, countries and circumstances.

A short list is always debatable. My choice is to offer books that ask the right questions through different eyes, even if it means to reveal inhumane realities.

Irène Attinger
Library Curator at Maison Europeenne de la Photographie in Paris
Kindly supported by the French Embassy in Ireland

East of a New Eden, European External Borders, A Documentary Account
Alban Kakulya & Yann Mingard

Alban Kakulya and Yann Mingard have travelled along the European Union’s new borders to document the borderland and its special architecture, outposts, road systems, lanes, signs and fences. In the two photographers’ portrayal, the areas seem devoid of human beings and dominated by the clash between objects and nature. There is no exaggerated sensationalism, but a clear balance between how the emptiness is accentuated by the surroundings and the presentimental lack of editing. It is the absence of people and action that intrudes on us, like a mumble between tons of snow, stones, asphalt, iron and concrete, the nothingness like cries from the road’s distant, endless horizon.


Visage(s) de l’Europe rurale

Organisé par l’association GWIN ZEGAL
August Sander, James Ravilious, Yann Mingard, Anne Golaz, Cintia Stucker, Nikolaus Geyrhalter, Armand Chartier

Du 3 mars au 15 avril
Ouverture du mercredi au dimanche de 15h à 18h30.
Espace François-Mitterrand – Mairie 1, place du Champ au Roy 22200 Guingamp
[Studio]GwinZegal – 3, rue Auguste Pavie 22200 Guingamp




et aussi:





Nomination pour le projet « DEPOSIT »




June 2 – July 15, 2012

“Europe was originally a myth, and it remains one today.”1

Equipped with cameras and GPS devices Alban Kakulya and Yann Mingard traveled the 1600-kilometer-long eastern border of the European Union to document it in photographs—one photographer starting from the north, the other from the southern end of the border. From this expedition developed a complex inventory of images of the buffer zone, which stretches from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea; a work that led to the book, East of a New Eden, published in 2009, and which in the same year was honored with the Prix FNAC Européen de la Photographie. A deliberate “analytic and neutral distance was taken, which conforms more to contemporary photography than to classic reportage.” (Alban Kakulya)

The eastern border, which as the largely impermeable “iron curtain” once separated the Eastern Bloc from Western Europe, is now an economic border of the EU, a sharply monitored zone between the “rich” West and the “poor” East, which stretches alongside the countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

Many of the landscape shots, the first of three sets of photographs that make up the project, lose themselves in the vastness of the wasteland and suggest no trace of a border. Only the GPS coordinates lend a tangible starting point to the placelessness shown in the images. Two abstractions yield, as it were, one entity through the counter effect of the visual indeterminateness and the irony of the exact location as title, emphasizing the immateriality of the line of demarcation.

In the second group of works, Portraits and Infrastructure, the abstract image of the border has a face (those of captured refugees) and a form (that of the technical, structural enforcement apparatuses). The anonymous expanse of the landscape is made real in the drama of the individual fates and the routine of the high-tech surveillance.

The work of Alban Kakulya and Yann Mingard goes far beyond mere documentation. The multidimensionality of the focus of their expedition is reflected in the diversity of the book East of a New Eden, which brings together, in addition to the landscape and portrait shots, numerous satellite images of the border region as well as many texts from different perspectives. Ultimately the graphics and statistics complete the work; they illustrate how many people, in trying to cross the border to reach the promise of the West, lose their lives.

With the almost complete abolishment of the interior European borders and the eastern expansion of the EU, whereby the westernmost countries of the East suddenly become the easternmost parts of the West, the “frontier” issue has not just moved geographically further away, it has also largely vanished from the minds of Western Europeans. In East of a New Eden Yann Mingard and Alban Kakulya endeavor to make visible and decipherable these little known and almost forgotten realities that are far from our everyday lives and beyond the headlines. It is at the same time an invitation to reflect on what borders are and what their consequences are for human beings.

1 Laura Serani: East of a New Eden: the borders of a myth. In: Alban Kakulya, Yann Mingard: East of a New Eden. Baden: Lars Müller Publishers, 2009, P. 76.

With support from ProHelvetia, Schweizer Kulturstiftung an the Kulturstiftung des Bundes


15.04.2012 – 18.06.2012
The Breath On Our Back
La société occidentale contemporaine tend vers un idéal de protection, de sécurité et de bien-être individuel qui se déploie dans tous les instants du quotidien avec, parfois, des accents d’utopie. De projets urbains aux banques de conservation de sperme, des liens tissés entre monde végétal, animal et humain aux pressions sociales sur le corps, le réel est envahi par des idéaux qui restreignent les libertés de faire, d’être et de penser. The Breath On Our Back questionne ces enjeux à travers les travaux de neuf artistes.

Si la figure humaine n’est que rarement directement présente dans les œuvres, elle est pourtant centrale dans l’exposition. La présence – ou l’absence – de l’humain permet ainsi d’interroger les besoins et les craintes d’une société peu à peu déchirée par un besoin de préservation qui ne parvient pas à éviter les écueils et les dérives propres à toute forme d’ostracisme social.

Entre réel et fiction, The Breath On Our Back se place entre ce qui est montré et ce qui ne peut qu’être deviné : des prisons à de fictifs exercices militaires, de la codification sociale des corps à l’appréhension intime de la mort, chaque œuvre recèle des éléments à placer dans une compréhension globale du devenir humain.

Avec : Anoush Abrar, Graziella Antonini, Clovis Baechtold, Laurence Bonvin, Line Chollet, Elisa Larvego, Yann Mingard, Anne-Julie Raccoursier, Virginie Rebetez

Commissaires : Maude Oswald et Danaé Panchaud

Une proposition de NEAR, association suisse pour la photographie contemporaine








Texts by Nathalie Herschdorfer, Phillip Prodger,

Graphic design by Fulguro,

Reproductions by Patrick Schranz
2012. 96 pp., 33 color ills.
30.10 x 24.60 cm
ISBN 978-3-7757-3315-1


Apr 20, 2012


We want our landscapes to be sublime. We want to be overwhelmed, lacking words. We want to be in awe, getting reminded of our own smallness and mortality. Unfortunately, most landscapes don’t work that way. Most landscapes do not overwhelm the senses. Mind you, there is beauty all around us, but to see that beauty we need to make a bit of a mental effort. Being Swiss, Yann Mingard might have simply aimed his camera at the Swiss Alps. But he chose not to do so. Instead, he aimed it at what places where most people wouldn’t even bother looking twice – the kind of nature that surrounds so many of us. Repaires, the book containing the results of this endeavour, shows what is to be gained from doing that. (more)
In a nutshell, the book is divided into three parts of landscapes, which successively get darker and more mysterious. There are trees, or maybe small groups of them, grass, underbrush, pine cones lying on the ground – all of that contained in frames that at first sight appear random, but that aren’t random at all. I will admit that when I first looked at the book, I didn’t quite realize what was going on, but the fact that things got progressively darker, literally darker, drew me in. So I went back, looked at the book again, and I’ve been looking ever since.

I will also admit that the final section of the book is my favourite. Here, the light is so low that it is very hard to make out details in the photographs. But they are there, and they are incredibly beautiful. And the darkness is no darkness in the sense of feeling: There are no threats here. These are landscapes at the edge of night. This might be when it’s time to head home – but if you stay behind, this is what you will see (experience).

Here is, then, a book that maybe might make people not only look at itself more carefully over and over again, it might also make people look more carefully at what is outside, at whatever bits of Nature there are. One of the many qualities of photography is that it can make us look, it can teach us that there are many things to be discovered if we just look a little bit more carefully. Our senses are well developed to allow us to experience awe even when we’re not in the presence of grandeur. Repaires makes this very clear.

A few words about production quality. A photobook can be marred, if not ruined, by a sloppy or bad production (design, printing, binding, etc.). A good or excellent production, in contrast, does the opposite: It makes the photography shine. Repaires is yet another example of Hatje Cantz taking excellent care of all the relevant details. The print quality is very, very good – especially the dark images (the last third of the book) do not disappear in a mud of darkness as they easily could have. And while the overall format is classically conservative, there are various details which make this book look and feel contemporary, starting with the choice of cover, the treatment of type, and the fact that the cover boards have the same size as the pages.

Repaires, photographs by Yann Mingard, essays by Phillip Prodger and Nathalie Herschdorfer, 84 pages, Hatje Cantz, 2012

Technical note: The photographs of the spreads, in particular those of the dark images, do not do the print quality of the book any justice. Please keep that in mind.