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Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

‘Under Cover’, Series of photographies
© Virginie Rebetez

Overview

Category

Photography

 

Work

'Under Cover', Series of photographies

Essay

Under cover

The photographic works of Virginie Rebetez, who completed her studies at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam in 2008, tackle unconventional themes that evoke the fleetingness and ephemerality of life. Rites of transience, occult ceremonies, death, the beyond, the hidden and the undiscovered: all feature prominently in her oeuvre. 
The Lausanne-based photographer's 2013 project ‘Under Cover', which wins this year's Swiss Design Award, was created while she was staying in Johannesburg. Visiting a large cemetery in Soweto, she noticed gravestones swathed in various materials. These are part of a widely practised ritual that takes place when the gravestone is being laid: as soon as it is in position, the family cover it with coloured cloths, fabrics or plastic to conceal the identity of the deceased. After an unspecified period that can be anything from a couple of weeks to years, another ritual sees the relatives uncover the stone once again, thus enabling the departed to make the symbolic passage into the beyond.
In her work, Virginie Rebetez has captured the element of the undiscovered, the concealed and the transitory in this South African grave ritual and translated it into a form of artistry reminiscent of monuments and sculptures. The black background of the thirteen-part series brings the wrapped gravestones to the fore, thus emphasising the three-dimensionality of the objects and rendering this fleeting, diffuse ritual tangible.
Thematically and visually, Rebetez's works invariably inhabit a twilight zone between reportage and art photography, the here and the beyond, life and death.
Martina Longo

Biography

Name

Virginie Rebetez

 

Born

1979

Education

Photographer

 

also in

2016