Interconnected Images:
Circulation(s) Festival 2024

Interconnected Images:<br>Circulation(s) Festival 2024

Since 2005, The Circulation(s) Festival of Young European Photography has been devoted to promoting new voices and visions in European photography. This year, the event returns from 6 April to 2 June at the Centquatre-Paris. Twenty-four artists from 14 different countries rethink the image, working between historical and popular, archival and digital, and personal and universal sources. These creatives consider topics of conflict, dislocation and loss, as well as cultural expression and memory. Exhibitions dive into queer identities and ballroom culture, as well as what it means for minority communities to exist on the periphery of creative worlds. Furthermore, in the context of an ongoing war, Circulation(s) pays attention to four Ukrainian photographers that uphold themes of resilience, storytelling and strength.

LAPTII Yevheniia - Circulations

Since 2019, Circulation(s) has highlighted a particular emerging European photographic scene as part of its focus. Previous spotlights include Romania, Belarus, Portugal and Armenia. For this 14th exhibition, the invitation is given to Ukraine, with the presentation of four artists: Maryna Brodovska, Lisa Bukreyeva, Yevheniia Laptii and Dima Tolkachov. During the first days of the war in Ukraine, Brodovska hid in the basement of a Kyiv hospital morgue, sheltering away from bombs and street fighting. Her practice, however, in the face of terror, offers up the surreal, humorous and colorful as a way of counteracting grief and loss. Mundane items are collaged together: sky-blue window frames hover in the mist; displaced goldfish swim against the folds of a bedsheet, whilst small nuclear missiles dive towards glasses of white wine. Brodovska shows the necessity of creativity in times of conflict, highlighting art’s ability to provide hope in the darkest of times. In Okolotok, Laptii uses photography as a way of distortion but also reality building. The series reinvents the old Ukrainian tale for a self-sufficient village, subverting notions of folklore and fairy tales. In a standout image, a figure in a red coat is carried by the water, rendering the image painterly and impressionistic. Laptii explains, “These are allegories that come from childhood, the refuge of the imagination dreams, chimeras, love and friendship; but fairy tales are not always beautiful. The story came full circle when Russian troops entered my real, non-fictional village.”

Ballroom culture, meanwhile, is explored by multidisciplinary artist Tom Kleinberg. The artist explores an underground queer subculture, founded by Black and Latino queer communities. The origins of the movement date back to dance competitions and fashion shows, known as “balls” in 1960s Harlem, New York, where people were invited to “walk”, perform, dance, lip-sync and model in different categories as a way of demonstrating, and satirising gender constructs, occupations and social classes. Through film and photographic series, Kleinberg documents spaces around Seoul and Paris, offering them a platform to express their truths through dance. He makes their bodies physical, present and iridescent. Klein notes, “This series captures the grit, passion and creativity of a community that refuses to be silenced. The lines and curves of their bodies appear frozen in time, yet they seem to be in a constant state of motion as music and movement merge into one.” We feel the nocturnal rhythms of these spectacular performances through contorted poses, neon red tights and bedazzled gloves. Dance culture is also explored by artist by Paris-based artist Luna Mahoux, paying attention to Logobi, a fast, jerky dance often accompanied by music that blends electronic and contemporary African styles. Across screenshots and testimonies from key Logobi figures, Mahoux shows the importance of transmission across personal expression and culture.

We can't imagine the length of time it took to make the universe - PhMuseum

In an image by Maria Siorba, a glowing light emanates from the centre of a figure’s torso. Two hands hover over the warm light, nursing it as if contains a special quality. The image, taken from Siorba’s Blank Verse, points to the profound understanding shared between people. It’s a work that pairs well with Diambra Mariani’s 8 Moons, a series inspired by a Sharon Old’s poem of the same name. In We can’t Imagine the Length of Time it Took to Make the Universe, we see a person overlooking a rippled coastline. Flickered across the picture are beige specks that on first glance look like droplets of paint, but on further inspection, look like stars. Mariani nods towards our vulnerable and fleeting relationship with the earth. She imagines, as Old’s poem details, “our species’ clouds / lifting off the globe” like a “huge, childless atom.” We’re reminded of the sacredness of existence, and the power of expression through non-verbal means. It is here that viewers find the centre of Circulation(s), in its presentation of an interconnected and fluid world.

Circulation(s) | 6 April – 2 June

Image Credits:

Maria Siorba, Blank Verse, Greece.

Yevheniia Laptii, Okolotok – when scary tales turn into reality, Ukraine.

Mariani Diambra, We can’t Imagine the Length of Time it Took to Make the Universe, Italy.

Tom Kleinberg, Forgotten in the Dark, France.