Synopses & Reviews
Mountains have long fascinated both artists and photographers. A companion to the Swiss photography festival Alt. +1000, held in the foothills of the Alps, High Altitude features works by contemporary photographers of mountains in their various and continually changing states. It celebrates and challenges deeply rooted myths about Switzerlands defining feature and, by extension, about mountains and mountain ranges worldwide. What remains of the myths linked to mountains? How do perceptions of them shift as their populations disappear, and cultural references are increasingly centered on an urban existence? What effect is climate change having on mountains? Including a new work by Olaf Otto Becker, renowned for his views of Greenland, High Altitude provides some of the answers to these questions.
As elsewhere in the world, mountains have been instrumental in defining identities in Switzerland. The theme has not ceased to fascinate artists and mountain landscapes have attracted photographers since the earliest days of the new art, when masterful work was produced during the last decades of the nineteenth century. Today mountain chains are seen differently, recognized as having an unsettling fragility in the face of their occupation by human beings. What remains of the myths linked to mountains? Are mountains still a source of inspiration for today's artists? How do perceptions of them shift as their populations disappear, and references are increasingly centred on an urban existence? High Altitude provides some of the answers to these questions. This book has been conceived as a companion to the Swiss photography festival, Alt. ]1000, held in Rossini re, a well-known village in the foothills of the Alps. High Altitude features works of contemporary photographers who record mountains in their various and multiple states: spectacular, sublime, domesticated, constructed (even artificial ) and frightening. Young artists from around the world, many of whom live far from a mountainous environment, celebrate and challenge deeply-rooted myths, and each in his own way tries to interpret this elusive landscape. The famous landscape photographer Olaf Otto Becker (Germany 1959), renowned for his views of Greenland, has been invited to make a portrait of a natural park situated close to the festival. He was chosen for the breathtaking beauty of his work, a beauty that nonetheless reminds us that nature is being radically modified by climate change. Unspoiled nature versus mountains altered by man is the theme interpreted by talented artists, whose visions are far removed from those of tourist postcards. Text in English and French.
About the Author
Nathalie Herschdorfer, curator and art historian, specializes in photography. Director of the festival Alt. +1000, she was previously a curator at the Musée de lElysée, Switzerland.