Algerie 91 | 19
Exhibition: 5 Jun – 27 Jul 2019
Wed 5 Jun
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
36 rue Falguière
+33(0)9-51 51 24 50
Algeria - 91/19
Michael von Graffenried and Youcef Krache
05.06 – 27.07.2019
Opening reception: Wednesday June 5th 2019, from 6 pm to 9 pm, both photographers will be present
"From 1991 to 2000 Michael von Graffenried took these "photographs of a war without images" (the title of his book published by Editions Hazan in 1998), in a country with no cameras. He became the only Western photographer to testify throughout Algeria’s black decade. Youcef Krache, who was only four years old at the time, is now working in a period of optimism where Algerians, every Friday protest, take millions of photos with their smartphones. The young people in the pictures show their joy, their faces express the will of absence of violence, the desire to be peaceful."
- Benjamin Stora, May 2019
The new exhibition of the Galerie Esther Woerdehoff confronts two perspectives on Algeria through photography.
First, the vintage prints of Michael von Graffenried, taken in 1991 when the Swiss photographer travelled to Algeria and followed the first free elections that led to the victory of the Islamic Salvation Front in favour of the creation of an Islamic state. The army’s intervention interrupted the electoral process and a civil war lasting about ten years followed, with terrorist attacks, murders of intellectuals and journalists and violent repression. From 1991 to 2002, Michael von Graffenried made about thirty trips to Algeria and chose the panoramic format that became his signature, with a camera aiming at belly level that allowed him to photograph his subjects without their knowing it. He will be one of the few Western photographers to document terrorism, its repression and the daily life of Algerians in this civil war situation.
Second, the work of Youcef Krache, an Algerian photographer born in 1987, who lives and works in Algiers. He is a member of the 220 collective whose photographers offer a new perspective on society. In a contrasting black and white with a strong grain, Youcef Krache claims to "propose mirrors to society" through his projects and photographs the street and the Algerian population in its daily life. Since the street demonstrations in February 2019 protesting against Bouteflika’s candidacy for the presidential election and calling for a political transition, he has chosen to focus his photography on covering this situation. Youcef could have been one of those children photographed on a playground or on the street by Michael. Nearly 30 years apart, these photographs confront two moments of history and the hopes of a people.