Refusing a world in which the guarantee of not dying of hunger is swapped for the risk of dying from boredom, Luc Chessex (Lausanne, 1936) disembarked in Havana in 1961, two years after the Cuban revolution. A member of the official Cuban press agency, Prensa Latina, and director of photography for the journal Cuba Internacional, he is one of the committed witnesses of the revolution. The exhibition presents three sets of photographs: Castro, Coca, Che. Visage de la Révolution (Face of the Revolution) was published in 1969 by the Swiss publishing house Hans-Rudolph Lutz. It is an essay on the representation of Fidel Castro in popular iconography, on walls, posters… Luc Chessex avoids mere propaganda. He accompanies his images with anti-legends that allow the public to freely interpret his pictures. The two series Che and Coca are part of the project of Quand il n’y a plus d’Eldorado (When there are no more Eldorados), a voyage through Latin America, a retrospective published some years after Chessex’s involuntary return to Lausanne in 1975. The first series, Che, follows the Bolivian traces of the leader become legend, whereas Coca bears on the omnipresent iconographic image of the powerful soda. Both figures symbolically share public space, which both myth and advertising compete for in ironic confrontation. Quand il n’y a plus d’Eldorado is also a film by Claude Champion (1980), produced on the basis of photographs by Chessex, which will be presented during the exhibition.
Luc Chessex, Castro, Coca, Che is a co-production with the Musée de l’Elysée of Lausanne and the Fondation A Stichting of Brussels.