Entracte, 2020

Ausstellung / Exhibition Plaza Photogénies, Le Plaza, Genf / Geneva, 16.6.–17.7.2022
mit / with: Georg Aerni, Zoé Aubry, Serge Fruehauf, Laetitia Gessler, Michel Giessbrecht, Aurélie Pétrel
Kuratorin / Curator: Sarah Zürcher

In February 2020, I was asked to curate a photographic exhibition to highlight one of the jewels of architect Marc J. Saugey, the Plaza cinema (1951–1953). From the outset, I was enthralled by the idea, as much for its relationship to architecture as for its link to cinema and, of course, to photography.

The history of the Plaza is interesting. Forming a continuous space from the screen to the rue Chantepoulet, this cinema follows free forms, adapted to the movements and flow of passers-by and users, in phase with the cosmopolitan city of Geneva, an international hub. Yet its access is discreet, almost reclusive. Marc J. Saugey built the unthinkable with an innovative commitment and core values that the new Plaza Foundation wishes to reevaluate and extend today.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the links between architecture and photography have continued to develop, gradually establishing photography as the preferred tool of architects for drawing up visual inventories and documenting the phases of a project or its execution. While the archives abound with photographs documenting the Plaza, the aim here is to take an approach that is not only documentary but also artistic, with a perspective that create a renewed call for narrative. The challenge is also to show a cinema emptied of its essence, waiting for its revitalisation and renovation. (…)

Aerni's Entracte series is mainly a series of diptychs in which he examines, among others, the entrance hall of the cinema as a transparent glass box, a space in between, bordered by a double row of glass doors, which reflects a living, fluid world. The photographer focuses on the arrangement of volumes, geometric structures and colours that recall those of a modern era, the 1950s. He continuously projects the viewer between cinematographic fiction and urban reality. Between appearance and disappearance, between decline and reallocation, this transitional zone shows the traces of an era resolutely open to its future. (…)

Sarah Zürcher