Exhibition: 10 Jun – 10 Jul 2021
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
rue Marguerite-Dellenbach 3
Exhibition: 10 June ‐ 10 July, 2021
Galerie Esther Woerdehoff is pleased to announce the inauguration of its new space in Geneva with an exhibition devoted to the photographic and video works of Jacques Pugin. The opening of this stunning second space also celebrates the 25 years of the Parisian gallery.
Located in the contemporary art district of Bains, at 3 rue Margherite-Dellenbach, the gallery is well-situated with the MAMCO museum and the Centre de la Photographie as its neighbors. This exciting venture begins with a striking exhibition devoted to the photographic and video work of the distinguished Genevan, Jacques Pugin. Publicly collected since the 1980s, Pugin’s work was also recently honored at a major retrospective in 2020/21 at the Musée Gruérien in Bulle.
This inaugural exhibition presents works created between 1984 and 2019, from the series Red Graffiti and Sacred Sites; the video-work, Pristine, and the Glaciers offset prints. These works highlight Jacques Pugin's deep connection to the landscape, including his critique of our human footprint. From light painting to digital manipulation, Pugin employs diverse and masterful techniques. Thus, he offers the viewer a contemplation on time, space, and the complex relationships humans have with nature.
"Over a period of forty years, Jacques Pugin has developed a highly coherent body of photographic work, seeking original aesthetic principles and his artistic language, in a style that emerges as the changing landscapes unfold. His style appears in the recurrent use of handwritten markings, traces, and signs, his experimentation with photographic techniques, use of video and satellite images. Jacques Pugin's work is characterized by aesthetic and visual ambition, associated with a keen quest for meaning, the driving principle behind a work of art in the making. Intelligence, originality, beauty, and perfection are the hallmarks of Jacques Pugin’s work, constructed with remarkable artistic sensibility and closely linked to contemporary culture." (Daniel Girardin, Art Historian, Lausanne, 2020, preface to the Tracehumance catalog)
Born in 1954 and against his father's advice, Jacques Pugin became a photographer and moved to Zurich in 1972. In 1977, he presented his first solo exhibition at Galerie 38, a pioneering photography gallery in Switzerland, directed by Suzanne Abelin. In 1978, he opened his first studio in Geneva and then travels to Greece for a photographic project for which he obtains a Swiss Federal Grant of Applied Arts. He then creates the series, Graffiti Grafted, using light painting, which becomes widely exhibited globally.
As an artist-photographer, Jacques Pugin experiments across photography using traces of light, collage, video, and color, and in doing so, redefines photography and its subjects. As an early purveyor of digital technology and its manipulation, he has also intervened in-camera, for example, with large-format Polaroids. In the 2000s, he traveled internationally for the Sacred Site series, supported by a Leenaards Foundation grant, and returned to Switzerland to photograph mountain landscapes for his impressive series,La Montagne Sombre.
Jacques Pugin's work is extensively published and acclaimed, and notable exhibitions include the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne in 1987 and 2009, and the Center de la Photographie in Geneva, of which Pugin is one of its founders. Recent acclaim includes his inclusion in the 2017 exhibition, Without Limit, Mountain Photographs at the Musée de l'Elysée, and most recently his retrospective at the Musée Gruérien, Bulle.