LUXEMBOURG.- I was here questions and presents different approaches to the subject of tourism, from a photographic heritage, which seems to be innocuous, anonymous, forgotten and often of average quality - from the technical point of view.
Tourism and photography have always maintained a close relationship - one is growing parallel to the democratization of the other.
Photography appears to be an indispensable means for tourists to own their subject, to fully possess the experience of a landscape, of a historic or cultural site.
Speaking of all, trips, vacations and tourism, the pictures exhibited here, know different stages of valorization: on one side preserved for their aesthetic value and historic interest, on the other side reconsidered by artists and replicated in another context.
The central part of the exhibition presents a wide range of the touristic iconography coming from public archives (CNA, BnL): precious albums of the great voyages of the second half of the 19th century to a more 'official' view of tourism across a collection bequeathed by the 'Tourist Office', a series of stamp-sized intimate photographs...
Artistic approaches radiate from this central part, which employ found images to breathe new life into them.
With almost obsessive rigor - but not without humor - Joachim Schmid explores the world of found photographs for many years now, Robert Schlotter, who draws his images from recovered Super8-films, addresses the process of creating memory, and Erik Kessels chases stories worth telling from the collections, which were taken out of their original context.
The artists' shift of the pictures also allows us to withstand the temptation of a purely sentimental or nostalgic view and open a questioning of the visual codes, crossing the borders between public and private space; the categorizations (amateur - professional - artistic), the heritage value - symptomatic of our time. Those issues bring us back to Susan Sontag who said:
To collect photographs is to collect the world.
(Susan Sontag, On Photography (London : Penguin Books,1979), p.3