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The Triumph of the Flesh in Lausanne

Body builders photographed by Valerie Belin


An exhibition which takes a sometimes brutally honest look at the human body has just opened in Lausanne.

It features work by contemporary photographers and artists who have depicted - among other things - the effects of suffering, illness and old age.

Other pictures show what is sometimes deliberately done to the body in the name of vanity or - as with the "Body Builder" triptych by Valerie Belin - changing one's physique.

But it would be wrong to describe the exhibition, at the Musée de l'Elysée, as wholly negative. It is entitled "Triumph of the Flesh", and museum director William Ewing says the intention is merely to reflect the work of art photographers over the past two decades.

"During that period," he says, "there's been a shift in art photography towards the darker side of the human body.

"It's a return to what you could say are the terrors of dealing with the flesh, as opposed to pushing it all in the background and concentrating on beautiful forms."

This is the third and final exhibition at the Musée de l'Elysée of a series which is this year celebrating what it calls the century of the body. The two others were entitled "Triumph of the Fragment" and "Triumph of the Form".

"Triumph of the Flesh" ends on January 14.

by Richard Dawson

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