After three weeks of sharing emotions on the topic of life together, the Images Vevey visual arts biennial has come to a close

Together. La vie ensemble

The topic of Images Vevey’s 8th Biennial, “Together. La vie ensemble”, inspired 50 custom-designed installations by artists from 25 countries, entirely transforming the town of Vevey and its environs. This Biennial often toyed with the limits between reality and fiction, for example with Diana Markosian’s monumental indoor installation, the flagship of this edition, where she staged her own family saga along the lines of Santa Barbara, a popular American soap opera. Or the photographer Daniel Mayrit’s fake political campaign, coinciding with important federal elections, thus creating some confusion among the Swiss populace.

Free admission and record attendance

For three weeks, visitors could enjoy the exhibitions entirely free of charge, presented in open public areas and in unusual interior venues specifically set up for the Festival. Under the patronage of Federal Councillor Alain Berset, Head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, the most notable visual arts biennial in Switzerland welcomed over 50 000 visitors, with over 250 000 cumulated admissions to the indoor exhibits, a record since this Biennial was launched in 2008. More than 5000 children and students took part in the Festival’s cultural education programme, which included guided tours in sign language. This edition also recorded an upswing in foreign visitors from Europe, the USA, Australia, and Asia.

The most-visited installations

The itinerary through Thomas Struth’s monumental installations left a lasting impression, especially with his spectacular 500 m2 photograph of Milan cathedral in the very heart of the ‘town of images’.

Indoors, other exhibitions met with unprecedented success, in particular Bettina Rheims’ portraits of female offenders, the immersive audio-visual installation by Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda, and the screening of the final performance by Marina Abramovic & Ulay.

Outdoors, the Martin Parr & The Anonymous Project duo amused festivalgoers with a sense of ‘déjà vu’, while Deanna Dikeman’s 27-year series of tender photographs of her parents struck a chord with the public, as did Siân Davey’s project on her blended family, displayed in the Jardin du Rivage. Erik Kessels’ life-size football pitch in La Tour-de-Peilz gave sporty visitors a chance to let off steam. As for the minigolf course created by Vincen Beeckman, this ‘9-hole’ putting green brought generations together to play literally on and around the Belgian artist’s images.

Exhibitions continuing beyond this event

L’Appartement – Espace Images Vevey, the new permanent venue of Images Vevey located in the main hall of Vevey’s train station, will continue displaying four exhibits until 13 November 2022. The Swiss Camera Museum is extending the display of Roger Eberhard’s project until 3 January 2023. This series evokes the typically Swiss tradition of collecting coffee creamer lids and, during the Festival, it was awarded the ‘Bon à Tirer’ prize by the BAT Switzerland Foundation.

Photo Roger Eberhard

To be continued…

Each edition of the Festival Images Vevey is affirming this Biennial as a key event on the international visual arts scene. The next edition of the Biennial will take place in September 2024. Until then, Images Vevey will focus on organising the 2023 Grand Prix Images Vevey, presenting some fifteen new projects at L’Appartement – Espace Images Vevey, developing Editions Images Vevey, its publishing house for photography books, and furthering other projects abroad, in particular in Kyoto in April 2023.