During the summer I attended an exhibition called La Beauté du Diable that discovered the German photographer Hans Silvester. Silvester is a world renowned photographer whose works look into his engagement in ecology, saving the planet and also his compassion towards the people of countries far from his own.
His exhibition spans over the three temporary exhibition rooms that the Foundation Carzou of Manosque has to offer. The first room looks at Ecology and the Environment and showed 21 photographs taken from different locations all over the world. The subject that he looked at was pertinent as a viewer, the shapes and forms within the works drew us in and then repelled us with its content. It however made us aware of what we are doing to our planet as humans and how that can have repercussions to places that are even a short journey away. For me Les Poubelles dans les Rues was the most shocking as it is so close to home and I remember the events that occurred when this photo must have been taken.
The second rooms helps the viewer to discover the houses of the Bench people, a group of people living in the Valley of Omo in Ethiopia. Silvester has been here more than twenty times photographing the people and their way of life and has been accepted within their community. The Bench people live in huts made of wood, earth and the excrement of cows. The women paint each house individually inside and outside with natural pigments. Some houses have ongoing geometric patterns.
The third room helps us to discover this population further. The Bench use their bodies as a living painting for rituals, combat preparation or just a simple desire to please. There is always an opportunity of be creative. They do the painting with their hands representative of their way of life and their harmony with nature and animals.
The photos were beautifully presented, mounted on thin aluminium and hung from the ceiling within close proximity to the wall. They were at a height that was agreeable as a viewer. In terms of lighting the darker room of the Foundation Carzou was lit well so that it did not shock the viewer even going from the lighter rooms. The other two rooms were lit by small spotlights with the aide of artificial light which due to the exhibition being in the summer would always be a constant light source.
Overall I found the exhibition extremely successful. The images were bright and full of colour and were very engaging. I felt I had been changed by the images I had discovered and come away with not only a fuller understanding but also had been shocked by the content of some of the images, especially those centred around Ecology and Environment. I am glad I attended this exhibition and discovered a new artist that has inspired me for my future work.