The Swiss Life Foundation has just revealed the names of the two winners of its prize: Vincent Fournier and Sébastien Gaxie. Spotlight on Auctus Animalis, the surreal and futuristic bestiary imagined as a duo by the photographer and the musician.
A few weeks ago, the Swiss Life Foundation launched the 5th edition of the Swiss Life 4 Hands Prize. A unique competition promoting emerging artists who, together, create a dialogue between music and photography. After having pre-selected eight pairs last month, the jury – made up of members of the Foundation, the director of the Jeu de Paume Quentin Bajac , the gallery owner Clémentine de la Féronnière, the director of the Studio national des arts contemporains du Fresnoy Alain Fleischer, winners of the 4th edition of the Prize, Édouard Taufenbach and Régis Campo, and the musicians Julie Alcaraz and Airelle Besson – met on January 27 and agreed on a duet: the duet of Vincent Fournier and Sébastien Gaxie. The winners receive a grant of €15,000 each. Their joint project will also be the subject of an exhibition and a book published by Éditions Filigranes.
Bringing the inanimate to life
“I met Vincent at one of his exhibitions in Paris a few years ago, around his work 'Space Utopia' . We immediately found an easy and fertile ground for dialogue despite the differences of our mediums. We had in mind to present ourselves for this Prize and took the plunge this year during post-lockdown reunions, ”says Sébastien Gaxie. Since childhood, his sidekick, the photographer Vincent Fournier, has been "fascinated by the various representations of the future".
An inclination that has never left him and imposes itself as the common thread of each of his projects. This speculative universe immediately appealed to the musician who draws his inspiration from eclecticism. “I have been working for fifteen years on synchronicity. I do a bit, like a transfer, match music to another reality captured in time,” he explains.
So it was with an amazing proposal that Vincent Fournier and Sébastien Gaxie stood out this year. For Auctus Animalis is nothing but an imaginary bestiary that intertwines universes that everything seems to oppose. History and anticipation, memory and science fiction, nature and technology all contribute to the creation of a reinvented, metamorphosed world. In the latter, evolution has provided wildlife with luminescent sensors that measure air quality and exoskeletons set with gemstones.
Vincent Fournier thus sketches portraits of these unknown species. Sébastien Gaxie, on the other hand, designs the sounds associated with them. "Auctus animalisis a new formulation of this research: linking the image of an augmented animal with a sound universe that brings it to life. Giving life to the inanimate sums up our intention well” concludes the musician.