Charles Fréger, The Wild and the Wise

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Bring me home, please

A few weeks ago i was in Liverpool for the opening of Turning FACT Inside Out, an exhibition that celebrates the 10 years of existence of the UK's favourite media arts centre (I will get back with a report later this week.)

My well documented love for Liverpool has been growing since i discovered the Open Eye Gallery last year. The independent not-for-profit photo space is now showing the sensational Charles Fréger, The Wild and the Wise. The exhibition opened in collaboration with LOOK13, Liverpool International Photography Festival and as befits the theme of the festival this year (WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?), the gallery has selected the work of an artist concerned with both individual and collective identity.

One of Fréger's series documents some of the pagan rites that still celebrate the cyclical patterns of nature and life in general in Europe.

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Babugeri, Bansko, Bulgaria, 2010-2011. From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

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Schnappviecher, Tramin, Italy. From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

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From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

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Ursul (Bear), Palanca, Romania, 2010-2011. From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

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Caretos, Lazarim, Portugal, 2010-2011. From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

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Charles Fréger, Busos, 2010. From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

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Juantramposo, Alsasua, Spain. From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

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Charles Fréger, Krampus, Bad Mitterndorf, Austria, 2011. From the "Wilder Mann" series © Charles Fréger

I could go on and on with those images. They might be less fancifully attired, but the Namibian Hereros, dressed in a vernacular version of colonial uniforms, impressed me just as much as the European revelers of all things folk and pagan.

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Hereros 10, 2007. From the "Hereros" series © Charles Fréger

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Hereros 11, 2007. From the "Hereros" series © Charles Fréger

I smiled at the Wilder Mann and at the Hereros series but i was moved by the portraits of rikishi ('sumo wrestlers' in Japanese) as children and adults.

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Rikishi, Japan, 2006 © Charles Fréger

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Rikishi, Japan (sumo portrait 4), 2006 © Charles Fréger

Charles Fréger, The Wild and the Wise is at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool until 26 August 2013.

Image on the homepage stolen from the Double Negative.

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