The Voies-Off festival, billed as an alternative to the sprawling Rencontres d’Arles photography fair in France, returns to the fringes this year with a survey of emerging artists and photographers poised to make a mark on the world of contemporary photography.
Launched in 1996, the Voies-Off festival, led by Artistic Director Christophe Laloi, aims to discover new artists and put their work in front of the massive audiences that attend the larger festival at Arles. More than an exhibition space, Voies-Off also hosts professional development seminars and portfolio reviews, and each year presents the Voies-Off Award, a cash prize given to one artist for “the clarity of his/her vision and the quality of their work,” according to the 2014 festival program.
It’s these resources, coupled with free admission for the spill-over audience from Arles that has perhaps helped propel young photographers to the next level of their career and given them a platform not only to show their work, but also to present their ideas to an audience of their peers and professionals in the increasingly competitive contemporary art market.
David Favrod, whose work was also featured in a primary exhibition at the 2014 Scotiabank Contact Photography Festival in Toronto, Canada, bring his work to Voies-Off this year. Inspired by history and informed by his Swiss-Japanese ancestry, his photographs are an attempt to recreate ephemeral memories from his own hazy recollections of childhood, and the vivid but detached memories of his grandparents as they witnessed World War II.
Favrod uses found images, both personal and historical, to provide the foundation of his photographic memory-montages. He adds his own visual commentary to the photos in the form of awkward geometric shapes and patterns and jarring bursts of color, creating scenes that are oddly evocative of a concrete moment in history, reconstructed through the often-unstable lens of memory.
Favrod’s work, while just a fraction of the photography on display at Voies-Off, does exemplify the kind of innovative and challenging work the festival strives to support. Layered and quietly confrontational, Favrod brings an intellectual edge to his beautifully composed and, at times, haunting photos, inviting viewers to interpret his personal history while confronting them with a very real vision of the past. It’s a graceful mash-up of memory and mystery — a body of work perfectly suited to show at Arles.
The Voies-Off festival takes place in Arles, France, and runs through July 12.
David Favrod is an artist and photographer based in Switzerland and Spain.