Image © Cyrille Weiner.
“My first experience with images was when I was three years old,” remembers 36-year-old Frenchman Cyrille Weiner, who says he’s always had a strong relationship with photography and architecture. “Each time I visited my grandmother, I would rush to look at her family albums. I was fascinated by the images and would spend hours looking at them. I have also always been fascinated by the theatricality of life, and how people glide into these public spaces. I think my interest in photography inspired me to look around and, in particular, pay closer attention to the landscapes. I think I’ve always looked at reality as being like a movie set or a theatre stage, with actors moving about.”
So, naturally, when it came to finding a space in which to establish his studio, Weiner chose an architectural firm, and for the past seven years he’s been working closely with French architect Patrick Bouchain. This collaboration was born of a commission Weiner received in 2005 from Villa Noailles, the arts organisation and modernist villa, when he was asked to photograph a performing arts venue Bouchain had designed on the grounds. Now both men are planning the release of a photobook that will explore their collaboration over the years, including projects such as Metavilla, the French pavilion at the 2006 Venice Biennale.
Image © Cyrille Weiner.
Weiner’s strong interest in architecture also prompted him to reassess the way his images are exhibited. “It pushes me to create real experiences for my exhibitions. The space has to become part of the story – it cannot be just a space to show images.” The same goes with the way he assesses his own work. His latest series, Le Banc des Utopies, is his first attempt at connecting his images together. “I had already shot several series; all of them were the result of a particular situation or investigation. Yet all along I’ve always wanted to remove myself from these situations. I wanted to look instead at the relationship between what is real and what is fictional. I wanted to explore these ambiguities and I thought the best way to do this was to connect these images together to tell another story – the story of a world that’s been destroyed, or that’s being reconstructed. I wanted to let people form their own opinion.”
This year, Weiner doesn’t think he’ll be starting any new series. “I’ve just presented La Fabrique du Pré, which is a series that has been following me for the past eight years,” he says. It just won the Prix Lucien Hervé et Rodolf Hervé – a €6000 prize to help promote his work. “Now I want to publish the work. In fact, I think 2013 will be all about publishing for me.”
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