The Prix Pictet Show at the Athens Conservatory draws attention to sustainability
For a thought-provoking photo exhibition on climate change and sustainability, head to the Athens Conservatory where the Prix Pictet has chosen to house its current edition. The theme this year is Fire, an element that inspires hope and awe, yet is so often associated with the ravaging destruction it can bring in its wake. Each entry tackles the topic in a deeply personal way – there were photographers who chose to highlight the horrors inflicted on young burns victims (Brent Stirton’s stirring images will not leave you indifferent to this ghastly practice), the devastation left in the wake of wildfires (unfortunately, a familiar theme in Greece) and explosions (a reminder of the catastrophe that ripped through the heart of Beirut just two summers ago).
Founded in 2008, the Prix Pictet aims to harness the power of photography – all genres of photography – to draw global attention to issues of sustainability, especially those concerning the environment. Prix Pictet Fire, the ninth cycle of the Prix Pictet, presents work by 13 photographers from Austria, Belgium, Benin, Cambodia, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Switzerland, USA who have been shortlisted for this year’s prize. The bodies of work shortlisted for Prix Pictet Fire draw their inspiration from both major global events and personal experiences. The photographic images span documentary, portraiture, landscape, collage and studies of light and process.
Founded in 2008, the Prix Pictet is recognised as the world’s leading prize for photography. The Prix Pictet aims to harness the power of all genres of photography – to draw global attention to issues of sustainability. Featuring established photographers whose images span documentary, portraiture, landscape, collage and studies of light and process, the exhibition runs until July 10 at the Athens Conservatory. The prize of 100,000 Swiss Francs is awarded for a body of work that speaks most powerfully to the theme of the award. Each cycle of the Prix Pictet tours globally, with exhibitions in over a dozen locations, bringing the work of the shortlisted photographers to a wide international audience. The Prix Pictet is accompanied by a full-colour book published by teNeues, covering in detail the work of the shortlisted photographers, together with selected images from the wider group of nominees, and essays on the theme of the prize by leading thinkers and writers.
Prix Pictet Fire features established photographers including Rinko Kawauchi who photographed firework displays throughout Japan every summer from 1997-2001 and Christian Marclay whose series of photographic prints began as small-scale collages featuring fragments from comic books, movie stills and images found on the internet. They are joined by young and emerging names in photography, including David Uzochukwu, whose portraiture series In The Wake is set within an unknown landscape on fire, and Fabrice Monteiro, whose series The Prophecy addresses worldwide pollution through staged photographs of figures in costumes made of trash and natural materials. Blackwater (2008-2012) is a multifaceted exploration of the devastating wildfires that enveloped the Great Dismal Swamp in southeastern Virginia, where the first slave ships docked in America. In this work, Mann draws a parallel between the all-consuming wildfires she encountered there with racial conflict in America, explaining “The fires in the Great Dismal Swamp seemed to epitomize the great fire of racial strife in America – the Civil War, emancipation, the Civil Rights Movement, in which my family was involved, the racial unrest of the late 1960s and most recently the summer of 2020. Something about the deeply flawed American character seems to embrace the apocalyptic as solution.”
A selection of photographs from the short-listed artists: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (Lebanon), Rinko Kawauchi (Japan) Carla Rippey (Mexico), Mark Ruwedel (USA), Brent Stirton (South Africa), David Uzochukwu (Austria/Nigeria), Daisuke Yokota (Japan), Sally Mann (USA), Christian Marclay (USA/ Switzerland), Fabrice Monteiro (Belgium/Benin), Lisa Oppenheim (USA) and Mak Remissa (Cambodia).
When: Until July 10, 2022
Where: Athens Conservatory
For full details of the shortlisted portfolios, visit: prixpictet.com/portfolios