In the new exhibition “Le Gendarme sur la Colline,” opening April 27 at the Aperture Foundation in New York, photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti shot portraits of people she met while traveling through France by bus, car, and train. As part of an immersion program sponsored by the Aperture Foundation and the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Sanguinetti went from the northern seaport city of Calais to Marseille and ended her trip in Paris. Her showcase comes at a crucial time for France, just before a contentious presidential election on May 7.
Sanguinetti said she noticed a shift in cultural traditions, relations to migration, and a gap between urban and rural life as the country’s main stressors. “I felt an unspoken unease and fragility: subtle tensions between the old and the new; the sense of something ending, and the uncertainty of what is ahead,” she explains in the exhibition’s press release. Children were her most frequent subjects; other times, she photographed generations of women together, like one photo of an older woman holding a young girl close, both looking up to the sky.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual book in French and English, co-published by Aperture and the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès.