Yann Tonnar; Credit: © Sylvia Camarda

The Luxembourg Center for Architecture (LUCA) is organising an exhibition "Stadtrand. Portrait of a place in the making", presenting the work of Luxembourgish director, producer and photographer Yann Tonnar, taking place from Wednesday 23 November 2022 to 13 January 2023 at 1, Rue de la Tour Jacob, L-1831 Luxembourg.

For more than a year, Yann Tonnar cycled through the outskirts of Luxembourg, his hometown, on a mountain bike. Scrupulously covering the entire topographic boundary of the city, he photographed everything that struck him along the way, stopping at no obstacle. He has thus documented situations on the fringes of the city, where urbanisation is fading away, where nature and time assert their rights and where even civilisation sometimes crumbles.

Stadtrand paints a sensitive portrait of these places on which the city extends and redefines itself, creating an overlap of uses and infrastructures in space and time. The result of this work bears witness to a sharp look at this environment where buildings and nature, construction and deconstruction, order and chaos meet. The photographer was thus able to immortalise a crucial moment in the evolution of this territory which today is under enormous real estate pressure, opening up many questions about the future of this place.

Yann Tonnar's approach is conceptual, tending towards minimalism and abstraction. The human being has only a small place in these photographs, although his imprint, his trace left in the environment, is exactly the subject sought in the precision of the shot. The setting up of the exhibition is intended to be intriguing and cast doubt on the location of the places photographed, as well as on the exact moment of the shooting, playing with the curiosity of the spectators to encourage them to browse and immerse themselves in this territory.

This exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Nosbaum Reding gallery which will host a different selection of photos by Yann Tonnar from the 24 November 2022 to 14 January 2023.

The photographer

Yann Tonnar, born in 1975, is mainly known as a film director and producer. Nevertheless, his passion for images was born through photography, a practice that dates back more than twenty years, when he started working with film by making his own black and white prints. This was followed by an Master in Arts degree in Visual Culture at Middlesex University in London, which provided him with theoretical and analytical bases, to then move towards audio-visual.

This practice of photography, which he had never shared with the audience, has intensified again in recent years and has given rise to the Stadtrand project, the theme of which is in line with socio-cultural issues that concern him in his documentary films. In this sense, the film Schrebergaart (Garden Stories, 2011), which already took interest in the man/landscape dialectic, in the notions of culture and heritage, and in the natural and urban phenomena on the outskirts of the city, is a good example.

More generally, Yann Tonnar leads in all his productions a reflection on our reality “hic et nunc”: today and now, here in Luxembourg. His photographic approach is at the crossroads between documentary and art.

The framework programme

In order to develop a more in-depth reflection on the potentialities and challenges of this "fringe" which surrounds the city, LUCA has set up a programme around the exhibition aimed at approaching the subject from both a theoretical and a practical point of view.

To do this, the architect and urban planner David Mangin will give a seminar on the particularities of these territories, neither urban nor rural, which are born of urban sprawl and which he has characterised under the notion of franchised town.

A co-design workshop, supervised by Philippe Nathan (2001) and Norry Schneider (CELL), will reflect on the development of a green belt around the Luxembourg City and capable of accommodating different functions. The food belt system will be studied in order to identify the most suitable sites for developing a project in Luxembourg.

In addition to the guided tours of the exhibition offered to different audiences, a workshop for young audiences "Awase - from game to memory" will allow children from the age of six to approach the various themes addressed through the exhibition in a playful way.