Philippe Chancel


Philippe Chancel, DPRK 2, 2012, Edition de 5 Inkjet print, pure pigment, 120 x 160 cm, Courtesy of the artist, Eric Franck Fine Art, London

Philippe Chancel, DPRK 2, 2012, Edition de 5 Inkjet print, pure pigment, 120 x 160 cm, Courtesy of the artist, Eric Franck Fine Art, London


curated by Elio Grazioli

times and locations

Chiostri di San Pietro
via Emilia San Pietro, 44/c
42121 Reggio Emilia

friday 3rd may open from 6.30 pm to midnight; saturday 4th and sunday 5th may from 10 am to midnight; from 6th may to 16th june open on friday from 7 pm to 11 pm; saturday from 10 am to 11 pm, sunday from 10 am to 9 pm


Genuine “work in progress”, Datazone is a remarkable portfolio in Philippe Chancel’s work. Seven “destinations” are brought together: North Korea, the Emirates, Kabul, Port-au-Prince, Fukushima, Astana, Marikana. So many regions, event settings and cultures picked out by the photographer over the past five years. Philippe Chancel is one of those artists who struggle against the fast pace of life and strive to renew the meaning of the photographic image in contemporary reporting.
What can photography still express about our world? Does it still have that personal power that it used to possess to reveal the forging of identities and thus display the unknown side of contemporary cultures? This kind of belief has to be apprehended almost like ethics, a pursuit that one might consider desperate as our daily lives and even our imagination are now taken over by visual images, so abundant that we hardly notice them anymore.
Philippe Chancel opposes disillusionment with enthusiasm, an energy that every explorer needs. This enthusiasm doesn’t merely lie in the simple belief that one needs to explore our planet but that one needs to explore it differently. The photographer succeeds in creating a singular script by using new recording technologies and defining a distance and style that coincide with his subjects.
Whether with regard to the omnipresent authoritarian regime in North Korea, the caricatural ultra capitalism in Dubai or disasters hyped by the media, Philippe Chancel presents accurate detailed images, stripped of stylistic effects and poses. The photographer sticks to reality, his images thus avoiding the pitfall of exoticism or other forms of sensationalism.
For Philippe Chancel, everything starts from the existent. No special effects, no desire for staging. The conditions in which the images are produced, the choice of moments and locations, the articulate and frontal style, all allow humankind to materialise in an extremely rich “Datazone”, where the definition of “living together in harmony” is more global than ever. The author produces his subjects in a continuous process which eludes the mirage of progress. As such, Datazone originates in an anthropology of globalization.

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Philippe Chancel (b. 1959) works and lives in Paris. He was introduced to photography at a very young age, took an economics degree at the University of Paris followed by a post-graduate diploma in journalism at the Cfpj in Paris.
Philippe Chancel’s work has been widely exhibited and published in France and abroad in a number of prestigious publications. These include Regards d’artistes – portraits of contemporary artists -, Souvenirs – a series of portraits of great capital cities (Paris, London, New York, Tokyo, Brussels) glimpsed through shop windows – produced in collaboration with Valérie Weill, and, lastly, his North Korean project, which brought him international recognition.
Chancel has exhibited at the Rencontres d’Arles, the C/O Berlin, the Photographers’ Gallery in London, as part of the Deutsche Börse photography prize exhibition, where he won the visitors’ poll, as well as the 53rd Venice Biennale and the Pompidou Centre amongst others.
He has also published various books of his works, through publishers such as Thames and Hudson, Xavier Barral and others. Philippe Chancel has been shortlisted for Prix Pictet 2012 for his series Fukushima: the Irresistible Power of Nature. His work is included in many permanent public collections as well as private collections.
Philippe Chancel is currently working on a new long-term project entitled Datazone, gathered and shown for the first time in a festival, that aims to explore the many-faceted aftermaths within the documentary field.