In the call for entries countdown, we speak to longlisted artist Bruno Fontana whose photographic piece Artifact was published in the Aesthetica Art Prize Anthology 2016, Future Now. Fontana studies both urban environments and landscapes. He is not interested in the human form and yet his pictures are a reflection of our society.
A: In your longlisted series Artifact, landscapes are presented with manmade features, such as ski lifts and electrical cables edited in white. Is this part of the message you seek to convey in this work? BF: Today many manmade features are an integral part of our landscape. While adding those shapes into those natural landscapes, I am questioning the interest that we have in landscape when it is crossed by manmade features. We may think them as less fascinating than a natural environment. Nevertheless, aren’t these manmade features an equal component of the identity of the current environment?
A: Hide to Show Better, is a series which shows family photographs at Vietnamese landmarks, with the yellow star of the Vietnamese flag covering the family. Could you tell us a bit about how you feel about tourism at cultural heritage sites? BF: While visiting cultural heritage sites, you will see most of people taking selfies. We previously used to take the best picture of the site, to choose the best angle. Today, the question is more about: how do I show that I was there?
Facing this excess of visibility, the posture of this family (always the same on each photograph) with masked faces show us an attempt to withdraw and give a greater sense of importance back to the site.
A: Many of your landscapes reflect on the spaces we build on and live in. What first inspired you to explore these environments? BF: If we look carefully, all the environments are manufactured, because all places have been explored and appropriated. Most of landscapes representation is the reflect of natural and pristine landscape. But why do we keep taking interest in these kind of landscapes if we are always willing to permanently modify them? Should we not be rather interested in the landscapes we altered?
A: In many of your photographic series’ we can see everyday buildings and objects, such as electrical towers. What do you find interesting about these features? BF: Apart from their aesthetic interest, I think these are the forms of appropriation of our environment. We may consider them ugly or beautiful, they are still part of the identity of our environment.
A: Whilst landscape photography is inevitably drawn by our changing environment, your photography ostensibly reflects more upon the human condition. Do you feel that landscape photography is an effective plateau from which to contemplate our society? BF: Exactly, there are many ways to deal with human beings without showing them and I think that a study of our environment tells us a great deal about our society.
To see more of Bruno Fontana’s work, visit www.fontana.book.fr
Entries are open for the Aesthetica Art Prize until 31 August: www.aestheticamagazine.com/artprize
1. Bruno Fontana, Artifact. 2015.