GREGORY COLLAVINI (Fribourg, Switzerland)
Born in Bern Switzerland, the 26th of april 1988, exactly two years after the Tchernobyl nuclear disaster. After a disastrous attempt to be a computer engineer, I managed to have the last place in the écal art school in Switzerland and did my photography degree there. After several assistant jobs in watch and fashion photography, I started my career as an freelancer, which of course at the beginning led me to take jobs beside as for instance craft beer brewer. But yet, I am still a freelancer and now I work in a longform magazine as art director. I find romance in rough landscape constructions, which probably comes of my Italian and German descents. I like spaces. They give me emotions. I also like to match opposites and create ambiguity.
Considering that landscape is a human invention, conceived to be either a concrete or an imaginary transfiguration of the land I based my research on ideologies related to town planning and landscape management. I give particular emphasis to the case of Switzerland because its exiguity generates an intense control of its territory. The work shown here concerns noise reduction walls, which are erected almost everywhere on the swiss territory. These constructions remit from a political intention that is essentially positive, notably to protect people from annoying noises caused by transport. They have nevertheless an opposite effect, which is to delimit and to contain the landscape. On a more metaphorical level, these constructions could be seen as signs of a country shutting itself in. I’m claustrophobic so I use these walls as a pretext to illustrate my own vision of the swiss landscape.
Practice Statement: How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
I shoot essentially with an analog 4×5 inch Toyo camera. I love this thing because since it’s the cheaper one in plastic, it’s quite fragile and I have to be careful with it. 4×5 inch film is expensive and a slow process. My actions have to be done properly since things can go wrong easily with a plastic camera. I don’t have the choice that to take my time and study every detail. So when I open my folding, I enter in a sort of meditation, as I could observe my surroundings through a glass bubble. Time slows. And of course this feeling is amazing, especially when photographing the project Silent Outlooks as the highway landscape is noisy and fast moving.