Les passants, 2020–2021
Collection of 10 videos and slides
Flexible dimensions and length
Edition of 3
Anna Malagrida’s Les passants series is based on videos and photographs of individual residents of Paris taken between the first lockdown in March 2020 and February 2021, when daily life in France was heavily dominated by government-imposed measures to combat the pandemic.
Malagrida sets up her camera in eleven different locations within the urban area, whose point of view remained fixed. Malagrida captures people during their daily walks through the neighborhood, whose radius of movement and temporal duration were strictly limited.
The resulting videos and photographs seem like records of the fleeting passers-by. But the passing of time is also captured through the changing courses of light and shadow and presented as a counter-image to the stagnation in which society remained. It is precisely against this backdrop of the state’s intensified separation between interior and exterior space that Malagrida deals with methods of surveillance and control.
Her solitary appearance in front of the camera reflects the isolated appearance of people in a public setting – a symbol of their isolation. At the same time, this reflects the exposure of the individual, in the sense of making him or her visible at a time when restrictions on contact and extensive invisibility in public are at stake.
Anna Malagrida (*1970 in Barcelona, lives and works in Paris), who has been working as an artist since the late 1990s, first studied communication at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (graduated in 1993) and then she obtained a diploma at the École Nationale Supérieure de Photographie in Arles (1996). She is the winner of the Prix au Projet des Rencontres internationales de la Photographie (2005), had a scholarship from the Fundación Arte y Derecho (2006) and in 2016 she has been honored with the Carte Blanche PMU prize, which was tied to an exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. Since 2020, she is part of a program of the French Centre national des arts plastiques and the Jeu de Paume in which new photographs are commissioned (Commande Image 3.0).
Malagrida’s works (videos and especially photographs) are characterized by her great interest in social and political contexts. She combines formal quality, media-conceptual considerations, and art-historical references (the flatness of the photographic image, the relationship between painting and photography, the view through the window that has become topical since Leon Battista Alberti, the chiaro-scuro lighting conditions since Caravaggio) with a great empathy for humans. Thus, Malagrida’s photographs deal with questions of cultural identity, the boundaries between the private and the public, and the relationships of authority and power in our contemporary societies. While her works are often prompted by current events, they in fact discuss issues that go beyond the current day.