Seeing and Believing will be the two keywords of BIP2014, the 9th edition of the International Biennial of Photography and Visual Arts of Liege, entitled PIXELS OF PARADISE. Indeed, the image is always an ambiguous source of promise. It lies and tells the truth at the same time. Its power of bewitchment and its power of proof go hand in hand. It is this unfailing link that BIP2014 will attempt to explore through an eclectic artistic selection where mystification as well as the sacred will have their place, often tied together…
Seeing and believing are deeply rooted in the Christian tradition and this cultural breeding ground has consequences for our relationship to images, whether we are believers or not. In spite of the prohibition of the second commandment of the Bible, Christianity has thus produced images that had the status of icons and were used as such in worship. Nevertheless, the quarrel of iconoclasts and iconodulators (in the eighth and ninth centuries) shows that, when it comes to belief in the image, the boundary between the eikon (the icon, where the image is a medium for reaching the unrepresentable divinity and whose status is symbolic) and the eîdolon (the idol, where the image is worshipped for itself, as if it embodies the divinity in truth and reality) is thin.
In our Western culture, this religious and metaphysical anchoring of the image has, over the centuries, imposed an imaginary of the “unpainted image”, produced by impression, transfer or imprint, and whose immense power has been revealed by photography – and subsequently by cinema and other means of mechanical reproduction of the visible.
On the basis of this attraction, which is very difficult to resist, power, whether clearly identified or more nebulous, makes massive use of the force of visual persuasion in an attempt to win our consent, conscious or unconscious. Indeed, the fanaticism of the image and its attendant effects of belief takes on a dimension today that it has never before attained, perhaps as a counterpoint to a society that claims to be rational. The media and communication industries, religious and spiritual proselytism of all kinds, marketing and economics are among the fields of action of images, heavily summoned to push us to follow them.
It is not, of course, a question of playing “true or false” but, on the contrary, of taking the full measure of this immutable floating in our relationship to images and their “truth”.
Paradise is pixelated.