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De l’Europe, Dudelange Steelworks, CNA Luxembourg 2007

De l’Europe, Dudelange steelworks, CNA Centre national de l’audiovisuel, publication representing ten years of Mosaique Research Award recipients. The book is co-published by the CNA and Filigranes.

24 May 2007. The striking and monumental site of the Dudelange steelworks is playing host to a gathering of 25 photographers. For the occasion, this industrial site has been redesigned as an exhibition space, while maintaining its original dimension and character. The scale of the event is striking, featuring over two hundred works. The set and lighting have been designed by Albert Vallverdù, a Catalan architect specialising in photographic exhibitions. 

All of them, in their own way, “speak” of Europe, of subjects that are familiar to them, involving urban life, society, conflicts, migrations … These are contemplative and dedicated contributions, bearing witness to significant work carried out in the field. Another aspect uniting these 25 creators is the “programme Mosaïque”, which has lent them its support. Each year – from 1996 to 2003 – Mosaïque has been responsible for the genesis and realisation of these photographic projects, of which the images suspended from the walls today are the most representative pieces. Why Mosaïque, why Europe? The “programme Mosaïque” first originated as a result of thoughts on the extraordinary photographic heritage kept in Luxembourg, the exhibition “The Family of Man” by Edward Steichen. The Centre national de l’audiovisuel, responsible for restoring and setting up “The Family of Man” in Clervaux, drew inspiration from Edward Steichen and his philosophy on the message of photography. More than ten years have passed since the CNA team conceived and implemented this programme, while European construction continues to be a major issue, on both a political and economic level. And photography has proved to be a medium capable of highlighting in a relevant manner the construction of this complex structure. The focus and title of the programme, Mosaïque, therefore imposed itself almost as a matter of course. The photographers, whose projects have been chosen from between 1996 and 2003, the programme’s time span, have all accompanied Europe’s development at the turn of the century. This exhibition reveals the motives underlying their concerns regarding the political and geographical construction of this entity, the unrest accompanying it, but also Europe’s past. They also expressed the desire to anticipate the future, to raise potentially crucial questions. The exhibition is thus also a way of asking reflective questions on the current state of photography: who is showing what? While it has contributed to developing the knowledge of a continent, the “programme Mosaïque” has also contributed to highlighting contemporary photography. The latter is not simply limited to witnessing current affairs and history as it writes itself. The world of art reaches a greater depth of penetration in photography; as well as documentary methods intertwine with artistic approaches. As can be discovered on the walls of the exhibition, the growth of the photographers’ investigative field is complemented by a diversification of the techniques applied: black and white, colour, large-scale and small-scale formats, video projection. The exhibition is accompanied by a book completing the visual objective and including a deeper analysis of each of the works, while also allocating special attention to another facet of the “programme Mosaïque”: the support of various historical research projects on photography. The book is being co-published by the Centre national de l’audiovisuel and Filigranes.