Christian Caujolle

Artistic director of Phnom Penh Photo festival.

For its thirteenth edition, the Photo Phnom Penh festival remains faithful to its principles and, above all, to the need for exchange. Exchange between Europe and Asia, but also inside Cambodia by organizing the “Intersection” project with four young women from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap who will work on the same topics.

We will approach the feeling of travel, especially with the proposal of Claudine Doury who, visited the banks of the river Amour and went back twenty years later. She offers her vision of the two trips on the wall of the French Embassy.

Travel is also present in the proposal of the Chilean-French artist Enrique Ramirez whose work is haunted by the sea and who comes to create an original work in Cambodia especially for the festival. This work, presented in the gallery of the French Institute of Cambodia, will find an echo with the images sent for the photo contest organized with the support of the Delegation of European Union in Cambodia which will deal with the topic of “water in danger”, a serious problem in the country but also in many places all around the world.

They will link with the recent and unpublished creations of Cambodians Jean-Baptiste Phou whose square and black and white self-portraits are a novelty on the country’s stage, with the views of the city at dusk of Channal Sean, with the color self-portraits of Vannak Khun in the empty city when lockdown and with the creations of four young women working in collaboration on food -related issues. The Asian presence will be completed, between sculpture, installation and photography, by the proposals of the Singaporean Zen Teh which invites us to reconsider our relationship to nature and among others to the forest.

On the outside fence of the French Institute, large-format photographs will celebrate the centenary of the birth of King Norodom Sihanouk, a key figure in Cambodian politics from 1941 to 2004.

One of the great novelties is the presence of a guest country, a principle that we would like to be able to renew each year. This year, the Swiss Confederation will occupy the spaces of F3 (Friends Future Factory) in the heart of the capital. With ten artists, some famous, others very young, and an original presentation that shows the great tradition of Swiss graphic design, it is also a great opportunity to see the diversity of today’s practices in the field of images. A screening of Swiss art videos during one of the evenings of the festival will complete this set. Thanks to Marie Le Mounier and Beat Streuli for having conceived, curated and achieved the project with the support of Pro Helvetia.

Conferences, portfolios review, tuk-tuk tour of the exhibitions as well as three screenings by night will complete the exhibition program. We will begin with a tribute to Ukrainian artists, followed by a set of works around the topic of “Birds” by twelve photographers from all over the world. We will also screen, for the first time, the 12 shortlisted photographers of the Leica Oskar Barnack Award.

All our thanks go first of all to the artists, to all the artists, to the French Institute (Paris and Phnom Penh), faithful partners since the first day of the festival, to the Delegation of the European Union in Cambodia, to the private galleries and venues, to the Michel Rein gallery from Paris, to our printers and framers and to all the volunteers without whom the festival could not take place. They help us to remain faithful to our commitments: exchange and diversity.