In the footsteps of Louis de Boccard, a Swiss explorer in the real world

Tuesday to Sunday, 11am - 6pm.
January 31, 2018 - May 6, 2018

Raptor, Musée de la Plata, 2014 © Nicolas Savary

Conquistador is a photographic project built on the very dense archive of the life of Louis de Boccard (1866-1956), a Swiss man of the lower nobility of Fribourg, exiled in Argentina at the end of the 1880s and deceased in Paraguay in 1956. Nicolas Savary, a Lausanne photographer, fortuitously came into possession of this archive, first in Switzerland and then in Paraguay, as part of a research project during an artistic residency in South America in 2014. The archive discovered and organized within the framework of this project is extremely rich and, above all, unprecedented. It consists of photo albums, a correspondence, historical documents, press articles and diaries. 

The photographs are the work, on the one hand, of Louis de Boccard himself, but also of other photographers living in Argentina at the same time, like Samuel Rimathé. However, Savary does not propose a historical project but, instead, a contemporary approach with reference to an archive. Examination of the documents reveals that certain themes are linked to contemporary issues, for example, ecology and the tourist industry, questions of urban development, or the situation of indigenous peoples. 

Co-produced by the Musée de l’Elysée and the Musée Gruérien in Bulle, this two-part exhibition will first be presented in Lausanne where it will feature contemporary photographs taken by the artist in 2014 and 2015 in Argentina, Switzerland and Paraguay. It will also include reprints and facsimiles of archive images and/or certain original documents and ethnographic and heritage objects. The scenography takes the form of a narrative collage, with different types of images mounted in specific formats (frames, laminations, wallpapers, projections, display cases, etc.). The second part, more focused on the archival aspect, will be presented from January 27 to April 28, 2019, at the Musée Gruérien in Bulle. 

Sensations fortes, Chutes Iguazu, 2014 © Nicolas Savary

Panthera, Leo Estancia Montelen, Bragado, 2014 © Nicolas Savary


Tatyana Franck, director, Musée de l’Elysée, assisted by Emilie Delcambre-Hirsch, assistant in the Exhibitions Department 
Christophe Mauron, Musée Gruérien in Bulle 
Nicolas Savary, photographer 



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