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Carte blanche to Julie Masson

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13 Jan 2023

Each year, the Prix de Lausanne invites a “carte blanche” photographer to document the competition in his/her own way. This is an opportunity to discover the Prix de Lausanne’s unique atmospheres that reveal themselves far from the stagelights.

In 2022, we invited Swiss photographer Julie Masson and her cameras inside the 2m2c theatre in Montreux for her project “At the foot of the mountains”. Her work will be exhibited in large format on the Grand-Pont in Lausanne, from 23 January to 6 February 2023.


This project is supported by:

Au pied des montagnes

Arriving from all over the world, accompanied by their family members and coaches, dancers look at the hyper-landscape that surrounds them. In the images, hesitating between childhood and adulthood, they stand on the verge of the tension of the Prix de Lausanne competition, outside the stress of classes and rehearsals. In their bodies lies the memory of the pain and the fatigue of the physical preparations, crystallized towards this decisive week. The speed and the precision of their gestures is held back by the sense of infinitely extended time emanating from the landscape.

In January 2022, the 49th edition of the international ballet competition is exceptionally moved to Montreux. Much more than a distance along the Lake Geneva, this particular context operates a change of landscape. In front of you, the infinite stretch of the lake, at the end of which the mountains seem so close. Behind you: hotels large and small, the train station, the Planches district, one or two houses, some trees. And then again: the mountains.

The mountains are a surprise. They invite themselves into the images as they invite themselves into the gaze of the candidates doing their routines and who seem, on the very rare occasions where their bodies and determination calm down, to doze off at their feet. The presence of the landscape slows down everything: the dance, the time, the look we have on the photographs.

Between these geological shifts and choreographic movements, Julie Masson’s images cross the indeterminate space of the rooms where one warms up, where breaths, also slowed down, play with the light. The sun, far from the controlled spotlights, comes to disturb the poses. The night, little by little, comes to relax the control exerted on the postures, on the mastered image of a self entirely tended towards success. At the foot of the mountains of the Chablais, the Pre-Alps, the Northern Alps, at the foot of the inner mountains that we set up in front of us, these portraits reveal something of these dancers, of their hesitation, of their suspended age and of their softness. One last breath: the one you take just before getting back on stage.


Texte de David Gagnebin-de Bons