Festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo 2020 was opened by the ambassador of the French Republic François Saint-Paul and Landesrat Martin Eichtinger, standing in for Landeshauptfrau Johanna Mikl-Leitner, on July 14, 2020 at 10:30 hrs.
“COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. The coronavirus pandemic has taken hold of every country in the world. It has caused immense sorrow and pain, but also kindled a great longing to socialize, to have human contact and be close to other people. It has made us all the more aware of the importance of the arts as a source of meaningfulness, comfort and hope. In addition to language, religion and a common history, culture forms the fundamental basis of our society. We feel its absence like the loss of a human right,” said the Festival Director Lois Lammerhuber in his welcome address.
In this vein and in a spirit of great joy, the Festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo was opened on July 14, 2020, the French national holiday, in the presence of the mayor of the town of Baden Stefan Szirucsek, Bezirkshauptfrau Verena Sonnleitner, Landesinnungsmeister der Fotografen Niederösterreichs Christian Schörg as well as Silvia Lammerhuber and Lois Lammerhuber, the initiators and organizors of the Festival.
“It is a wonderful symbol of our relationship to open this festival on the French national holiday and to close it on the Austrian national holiday!” were the opening remarks of the speech by the Frenchambassador François Saint-Paul.
Landesrat Martin Eichtinger added: “With great humility and knowing that the special format of this festival presents us with the privilege to host an event, I am delighted that the Festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo 2020 can and will take place. The fact that the theme ‘All Eyes East’ includes the subtitles and narratives ‘Renaissance’ and ‘Never give up’ is a dramaturgic coincidence which we are happy to embrace as inspiration and our obligation to appreciate this festival devoted to photography as a symbolic hoisting of the flag for all arts.“
“Due to the current crisis the two themes resonate with us totally different this year. The uncertainty about the full extent of the crisis bestow an even greater importance to them. In view of the complex situation these works seem to offer a first answer: The are inviting the Europeans to deepen their collaboration and strengthen their faith in each other. The unity of Europe is the prerequisite for managing the challenges of the future,” said ambassador François Saint-Paul.
NEVER GIVE UP! is the motto which the works of the photographers of the Festival La Gacilly-Baden Photo 2020 have in common. They are presented in two impressive cycles of images: All Eyes East and Renaissance.
The theme Renaissance is an acknowledgement of the exhibiting photographers that they regard their works as a plea for our planet Earth, and “thisconsequently means the fulfilment of hope for a positive change” said Silvia Lammerhuber. This leads us to remember the upheaval in the East as a wonderful example of how 30 years ago the wind of freedom triggered Glasnost (openness) and Perestroika (remodelling), allowing the modernization of the societal, political and economic system of the Soviet Union.
This in turn led to the end of the Cold War and subsequently to a remarkable surge of creativity amongst contemporary photographers in Russia and the successor states of the former USSR which the festival entitlted ALL EYES EAST wishes to honour and celebrate.
The Festival will last until October 26, 2020, the Austrian national holiday. “The choice of this timeframe for the festival is to symbolize the collaboration of the two towns of La Gacilly in Brittany and Baden bei Wien. With a total of 600 000 visitors it is the largest Franco-Austrian cultural event and the largest European photo festival,” explains Stefan Szirucsek.
The opening was celebrated at Franck Seguin’s exhibition portraying ‘the man who walked under water’ Guillaume Néry. Seguin‘s “poetic images illustrate the longing of humans for being one with nature in an impressive way”, commented Christian Schörg.
“The Festival is entering its third year. It thrills the visitors as a communicator of topics with a strong humanistic orientation”, said Verena Sonnleitner.
The Festival extends over 7 kilometres, divided into a Garden Route and a Town Route, each starting from the Visitors Centre at Brusattiplatz, and includes 33 exhibitions. 2 000 large-size photographs will be displayed in public spaces.
The two complex narratives are visualized by 31 photographers, a photographers‘ collective of the Landesinnung NÖ and 13 schools of Lower Austria, based on the common plea for peace, tolerance and togetherness and a humanistic spirit. Entry is free.
The moment of the opening ceremony 2020: The ambassador of the French Republic François Saint-Paul and Landesrat Martin Eichtinger cutting the ribbons in the colours of France and Lower Austria.
From left to right: Landesinnungsmeister der Fotografen Niederösterreichs Christian Schörg, Managing Director Silvia Lammerhuber, Festival Director Lois Lammerhuber, ambassador of the French Republic François Saint-Paul, Landesrat Martin Eichtinger, the mayor of the town of Baden Stefan Szirucsek, Landeshauptfrau in Baden Verena Sonnleitner.
The link to the press kit https://press.lammerhuber.at/lagacilly2020 includes the festival poster, the map of the Festival, the catalogue, and two photos of each exhibition. The link will be maintained during the whole festival and will be updated regularly.
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