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©Les Nivaux, Cross the Scan - S21, photograph 7x3.60m.

The scanner becomes a place of meetings, exchanges and communion.

When they work for the Hand to Hand series, Pascale & Thierry are always very far from the stolen image. A scanning session becomes a round table... it's not only a photographic medium, it's also a place. A place for meetings, encounters, exchanges and communion. In Africa, for example, they are inspired by the traditional communal meal, where everyone sits on the ground around the dish to share it. They set up their scanner on the floor, and invited a group of women to join their hands on the glass plate. Behind each scanned hand, there is necessarily the story of this person and a story between him and the artists, as when they scan the hands of a former guard of a Khmer Rouge prison in Cambodia.

“This series made us live incredible human adventures!  In Djenné in Mali, we waited 2 weeks, installed with our truck in the public square before managing to organize a scan session in a neighboring village. Victims of our success, all the women of the village were there and could not escape any hand! A whole day in a traditional hut, the scanner hooked up to our 4x4, and a temperature exceeding 50°C [...]  »

Les Nivaux

©Les Nivaux, Photos & videos traces of the scan session in Phnom Penh in the S21 prison, 2016

hand to hand

They sometimes come out from the bottom of the image or from the wall like steles planted in the ground, or united with each other, a call for help or a message of hope? 

Thus in contact with the glass plate of the scanner sometimes crushed, they appear in the photograph as if stuck in a glass prison. Artists work these scanned hands in different ways in photography and even in display. Sometimes they come straight out from the bottom of the image like stelae planted in the ground, or like an army of soldiers blocking the way to human madness. They seem to send a message of distress, a call for help reminding us of the news. Sometimes they are joined to each other by the wrist, completely obliterating the body, to form a chain of hands of people of different origins, cultures, professions and/or antagonists for  send a message of hope. These hands thus personified can, as always with the technical potentialities of the scanner, take on disproportionate scales such as 8m high! The photographic image can then cover an exhibition wall or why not an entire room forming a forest of hands rising as if to challenge the viewer. 

©Les Nivaux, Rain Festival 2011

Hand to hand

©Les Nivaux, scanning sessions in Africa in 2010 & in Cambodia in 2016


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