The Circulation(s) festival returns to Paris from 20 April – 30 June, featuring work by photographers based in or originally from Europe. This year the festival has been directed by Francois Cheval and Audrey Hoareau, who used to work together at France’s respected Musée Nicéphore-Niépce but left to set up The Red Eye project. And, as they’re at pains to explain, though the festival is pitched as a “European Young Photography Festival”, it actually promotes emerging work whatever the photographer’s age.
“There isn’t really an age limit, the only “true” condition is to come from Europe or to reside in a European country,” they say. “Another criterion is to not have been shown very much in France and Europe. We know that the term ‘young photography’ is ambiguous… Circulation(s)’ desire is simply to offer emerging photographers, regardless of their age, a springboard.”
They add that the festival was one of the first to question the overrepresentation of male photographers, and also to pay its exhibitors; in addition, this year’s edition includes photographers from “countries whose state of contemporary photography is insufficiently known”, such has Georgia or Estonia. It also includes Romania, which this year has a special focus as part of the French Institute’s France-Romania Season.
The Romanian photographers included at Circulation(s) are Ioana Cirlig, Felicia Simion, and Mihai and Horatiu Sovaiala. “It is in the very nature of the festival to explore the whole of European production and not to be confined to the so-called ‘prescribers’ countries,” explain Cheval and Hoareau. “So we went to Bucharest to meet the local photographic community: schools, galleries, photographers, associations.”
In addition to these photographers, Circulation(s) includes work by 34 other artists this year – two artists from the invited school (Pippa Healy and Patricia Petersen from the Work Show Grow intiative); two artists from the invited gallery (Ivan Da Silva and Nelson Miranda, who are both with the Portuguese gallery Adorna Corações, directed by Estefânia R. de Almeida); and the rest the “Jury’s choice” photographers hand-picked by Circulation(s) and Cheval and Hoareau, including Yorgos Yatromanolakis, Jordi Ruiz Cirera, Jaakko Kahilaniemi, and Ulla Deventer.
“In addition to the invited school and gallery that offer, with our agreement, two photographers each, there are two ways to apply,” say Cheval and Hoareau. “Some of the exhibitors responded to the call for applications; the other half was directly selected, either by the members of the association, or by the ‘artistic directors’ during sessions (in the form of collective screenings), where debates and arguments led to majority opinions.
“Working alongside a team made up mostly of volunteers – members of the association that carries the festival – corresponds to a framework in line with our conception of an ‘artistic direction’,” they add. “We believe in the effectiveness of the collective and reject the idea of competition between ego! We do not wish to “lead” but to accompany and, perhaps, to bring something else; a political vision of the medium.”
Circulation(s) is open from 20 April – 30 June at Centquatre-Paris, 5 rue Curial, 75019 Paris www.festival-circulations.com/en/