From today, 12th april 2018, you can send a request (by email to firstname.lastname@example.org) to organize a Group Visit to “Ceux du Monde”, photography exhibition by Yann Laubscher, in Swiss Ambassador Residence, Andre Nikolica 30, Senjak, Belgrade
In 2010, the photographer Yann Laubscher goes on his first trip to Siberia in the Republic of Tuva (Russia). He has since then returned to the wilderness of this country each year, in regions such as Siberia, Kamchatka and the Urals. Associating portraits, landscapes and objects, without distinct chronological nor geographical markers, his previous work The Call is an immersion into the footsteps of a rough and precarious life, full of free dignity.
On his journey, he discovered an isolated valley crossed by a river, the Ka-Khem (Little Yenisei River), where approximately 1000 people live out of this world. During eight months each year, the valley is cut off by the snow, the river being frozen over. Six years after this first expedition, the photographer decided to return, this time in the heart of winter, walking 100 kilometers back up the frozen river to the last family living the most upstream, and therefore the most isolated.
After several endless days of walking, fighting cold bites and the pitfalls of the Ka-Khem, the photographer and his interpreter discovered, nestled in the heart of the valley, anchorites living in hermitage in simple shacks. In their daily life, where praying, reading, gardening, caring for livestock, cultivating, hunting and fishing are mingled, a kind of exclusive asceticism is established. Living in hermitage means salvation.
The past of these Orthodox Old Believer families, settled in this valley for over 100 years, is part of a flight linked to a schism of the Church in 1653. Opposing the Tsar, rejecting all powers, and denying government laws, official papers, food and customs of the “century” led them into hiding away in the most inaccessible nooks of the taiga and living in total rupture with the world. By being kept free from the latter – full of temptations, sins and contempt for God – they save their bodies and souls. Their daily practices, their clothing, their food, their habits, their language, their icons, their rites, their old manuscript books and their legends : all is preserved in this valley of past times, thanks to a certain distance and inaccessibility, despite the exchanging with travelers of basic food and petrol against fish and fur.
This face-to-face with nature, both rich and ruthless, is supported by a force of faith, almost frantic, helping them to survive and endure everything fate brings their way. Furthermore, the violent events of the past century reinforce these anchorites in their vision of the sinful world.
Yann Laubscher adopts the role of the involved observer, located both inside and outside of the subject. For him, pointing his lens at them would be an act of betrayal. A temptation to which he did not yield, photography being fundamentally contrary to the spirit of confidentiality of forest hiding. Ka-Khem, taiga, snow, ice and izbas compose the photographs designed to recreate the photographer’s journey through a hostile environment, with a frozen river as a narrative thread.
The photographs seized are suspended in an ambiguity related to the increasing trade with the world. They appear in the same movement present and absent in the world, physically strained by a resistant and almost animal beauty of their way of life, but intrinsically worked by a form of renunciation, abandonment. Without seeking simplification or obeying any logic, the photographer structures a language rather than a style. Wide shot or close-up vision: each of his images is ruled above all by its own point of equilibrium.
With the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Belgrade