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Cabaret Bizarre – exhibition and book in September 2020

For over 6 years, I have been photographing at the ’Cabaret Bizarre’ events. They are places and spaces of self-indulgent joie de vivre, where the boundaries between gloomy despair and cheerful ecstasy become lasciviously blurred and artistic freedom takes on bizarre dimensions. Here, hedonism flamboyantly and ostentatiously triumphs over asceticism.

Cabaret Bizarre was originally inspired by the dark cabarets of the Weimar Republic in the early 1930s Berlin when the Nazi takeover was about to happen and freedom of the arts and culture reared up a final time against the imminent downfall.

Cabaret Bizarre is a place for dazzling personalities and non-conformists escaping from the world of conventions and mass consumption. A place where diversity and beauty but also ugliness find their home. It is a curiosity cabinet, a freak show, a carnival of desires in the sense of Fellini and Brecht. Elegance meets Trash, and the night becomes an exuberant masquerade ball, significantly involving the audience.

I shoot photos of the show itself, but also of the performers in preparation or shortly after their performance. These moments of concentration, nervousness or calmness, this behind-the-scenes look and this unbiased closeness to the artists is what I am interested in. This is how hundreds of backstage shots of the hustle and bustle have been created in the last years.

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the book

The work has been awarded with the Swiss Press Award (3rd place) in 2015 and has already been exhibited several times in Switzerland, e.g. in the Landesmuseum Zürich, in the Swiss National Museum, Château de Prangins and in the House of Generations in Bern.

Now the work will be on display for the first time abroad. The photo gallery Tosei-Sha (http://www.tosei-sha.jp) in Tokyo, Japan, will showcase 27 photographs of the series in September 2020. At the same time, the book ’Cabaret Bizarre’ is planned to be published and will be available in the gallery via the gallery owner & publisher Tosei. The remaining books are to be distributed in the Swiss book trade.

The 80 carefully edited images provide exclusive insights behind the scenes of Cabaret Bizarre. The beautifully designed book is augmented by background information on Cabaret Bizarre and its performers and by a preface of the founder and visionary head of Cabaret Bizarre, who operates under the stage name Fabrice Noir. All texts on the photographs are printed in English and in Japanese. The gallery owner & publisher Kunihiro Takahashi accompanies the creation of the book and its design.

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