Philippe Fragnière’s artist's book snowpark consists of a selection of photographs from a series the artist undertook as his diploma work at ECAL (University of art and design in Lausanne, Switzerland) in 2012 and pursued after graduating.
Constructed as ski terrains for freestyle competitions, snowparks form monumental snow architectures erected as takeoff platforms for riders. Appropriating elements of the urban environment or citing architectural archetypes, these ephemeral structures insert the built environment of the city into the Alpine landscape. This confluence of the urban and Alpine contexts prompted the artist’s initial investigation into freestyle culture. The project then evolved into a wider reflection on the proximity of these snowparks with artistic practices such as sculpture and Land art. The snowpark series parallels both these concerns through its combination of two types of photographic documents: sharp documentary photographs of decontextualized urban elements and pristine, almost abstract, landscapes which reveal these constructions' formal qualities while questioning the nature of the photographic document itself.
Extending the artist’s research, the book presents the snowpark photographs as one continuous landscape, yet constantly in the process of being assembled and rearranged. Either cropped into geometric volumes by the pages’ folds or emerging as futuristic panoramas through their unfolding, the snowparks are merged with their settings to construct an endlessly reconfigurable landscape blurring disinctions between the built and the natural environment. By acknowledging the dialogue between these environments and aestheticizing its elements, snowpark forges new perceptions of the contemporary Alpine landscape.
The SNOWPARK book is published by Kodoji Press (CH)
It was nominated for the Paris-Photo Aperture Phonebook award in 2014.