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Last night, the Esther Woerdehoff Gallery hosted the opening of the exhibition of the 2016 HSBC Photography Prize. Under the artistic direction of Diane Dufour, the two prize winners, Marta Zgierska and Christian Vium, will be showing their works through June 18. This exhibition is the first to travel around France, and it will culminate in December with a presentation of new works produced throughout the year with the support of HSBC.

On the occasion of the opening, and to inaugurate each exhibition, Diane Dufour will offer a reading of one of the winning photographs. To kick off the first publication, the 2016 artistic consultant has selected two works exhibited in Paris:

The photograph Untitled from Marta Zgierska’s series Post:

“My first photos were as if an incantation to fear…”—Marta Zgierska thus describes the infinitely slow and silent process of returning to life following an accident that shattered her body. An afterlife, a “post”-life, when extreme attention to one’s own vulnerability is the only way of escaping it. We are no doubt all mortal, yet knowing it and experiencing it are two different things. Marta Zgierska went on to invent a language of survival through rarefication, concentration, and allegory. In her images, meditation on death goes hand in hand with the feverish yet clinical desire to tear free from death, and one is left speechless and nearly petrified that so much grace and abstraction may be poised at the very brink of the abyss.

A fragment of Christian Vium’s installation The Nomadic City

Flaubert once said that we can understand the world only in “discrete fragments.” In order to paint a portrait of Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, Christian Vium rearranges discrete images, collected in the course of his encounters and through a scrupulous subdivision of the territory into grids. He then puts them in a new, poetic and political, place: a rainfall map, a photogram from an amateur movie, the portrait of an adolescent in a no-man’s land looking defiantly at the photographer like some mischievous king… These are no doubt scattered, equivocal fragments, but, put together, they lend meaning to the paths of the inhabitants. They say: people have passed through here. By juxtaposing several regimes of truth, Christian Vium obstinately identifies them in each image as well as in between images. And he does it with great subtlety. A human being has passed through here.

– Diane Dufour

Prix HSBC pour la Photographie 2016
Marta Zgierska & Christian Vium
From May 10th to June 18th, 2016
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
36 rue Falguière
75015 Paris
+33 (0)9 51 51 24 50

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Marta Zgierska

Marta Zgierska was born 1987, in Lublin, Poland. She holds MFA in Photography (The Leon Schiller National Film, Television and Theatre School), MA in Theatrology and MA in Journalism. She lives in Warsaw, where she developed her artistic pr...

Christian Vium

Christian Vium is a photographer, filmmaker and anthropologist, primarily working on long-term personal projects anchored in participatory observation and in-depth collaboration. Investigating the intersection between documentary, a...

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