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Talk and Reception for Opening Passages at BUILD CHICAGO

Exhibition Opening, Talk

Sasha Phyars-Burgess ©Eva Morel, Karim Kal (self-portrait), Carl Fuldner ©Jessica Smolinski, Pascal Beausse ©Olivier Roller

5100 W. Harrison St
Austin Headquarters
Chicago, 60644

May 8, 2024 7:00 pm


Join us for the inauguration of the pop up exhibition Opening Passages : Photographers Respond to Chicago and Paris at BUILD CHICAGO, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet the artists and curators in person.

This pop up exhibition presented in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood is part of a citywide, multi-site photographic exhibition produced by Villa Albertine and its City/Cité program. It is also part of Art Design Chicago, a citywide collaboration initiated by the Terra Foundation for American Art that highlights the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities. It features recent works by ten American and French artists interested in the dynamic social landscapes of Chicago and Paris. Selections from all participating artists appear together downtown at the Chicago Cultural Center, while site-specific installations like this one highlight cross-cultural resonances between areas within the two cities.  

Both Sasha Phyars-Burgess and Karim Kal embrace traditional black-and-white photography to explore the urban environment and the communities that live within it. Both artists have photographs on display that were created in Greater Paris, while many of the images by Phyars-Burgess were created in Austin from 2018–19 while she worked with two local Heartland Alliance programs, READI Chicago and Mae Suites, through the Diane Dammeyer Fellowship in Photographic Arts and Social Issues.

On May 8 at 7pm, join us for a conversation with the two artists, moderated by exhibition curators Carl Fuldner and Pascal Beausse, Head of the Photographic Collection of the Centre national des arts plastiques in Paris. The conversation will be followed by a reception.

Sasha Phyars-Burgess

Invited in 2022 to benefit from a creative immersion residency at Ateliers Médicis.
During her 2023 residency in Clichy-sous-Bois, Sasha Phyars-Burgess set up a darkroom at a local community center, where she processed large-format black-and-white film negatives. Alongside her own work, however, she ran regular workshops, teaching youths and other residents at the center traditional photography techniques. Many of these people also became the subjects in her work, reflecting her combined process of art-making and community-building. She adopted this same approach several years earlier in the South Austin neighborhood of Chicago, where she mentored youth through a video production group at READI Chicago. Her video, Hail Mary, blends footage of READI participant DJ Looney Givenchy (Steve Walker) with clips she had gathered around Austin. Phyars-Burgess’s work rewards sustained looking, capturing moments that reverberate with presence and grace. 

JJ’S FISH + CHICKEN, series UNTITLED AND YET TO BE DETERMINED 41.8949°, 87.7654° W, AUSTIN, CHICAGO, 2019 ©Sasha Phyars-Burgess

Karim Kal

2017 laureate of the national photographic commission Regards du Grand Paris, led by the Ateliers Médicis in collaboration with the Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap).

With “Ligne Dée”, Karim Kal’s black-and-white photographs critically examine areas left behind by the great urbanist and political projects of the past. Exploring the city at night, the artist uses a short-range flash to capture deserted spaces on the margins within working-class areas of Paris. The abstraction within his images invites us to delve into the intricacies of traces and visual clues. The series roughly follows a path along D line of the Paris metropolitan and regional rail system (RER), cutting through the center of Paris to access socio neighborhoods north and south of the city. Despite the apparent emptiness within the images, the objects and visual elements that are present—a dilapidated wall, graffiti, wild grass—offer clues not only to socio-economic tensions but also to the life that permeates this landscape.

Passage 1, series Dee Line, 2017, ©Karim Kal

Since 2021, the Paris-Chicago dialogue has been flourishing under the umbrella of Clichycago: a platform for community-based cultural exchange and artistic experimentation, with the support of the Ateliers Médicis in Clichy-sous-Bois / Montfermeil (France) and Villa Albertine in Chicago.

In partnership with

BUILD Chicago

BUILD (Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development) is one of Chicago’s leading gang intervention, violence prevention, and youth development organizations. Our mission is to inspire hope and offer opportunities so youth facing systemic obstacles can achieve positive futures. We focus on hard-to-serve youth in some of Chicago’s most challenging neighborhoods.

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Terra Foundation for the American Arts

In partnership with organizations and individuals locally and globally, the Terra Foundation fosters intercultural dialogues and encourages transformative practices to expand narratives of American art. Art Design Chicago is an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art in partnership with artists and organizations across the city that highlight the city’s artistic heritage and creative communities.

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Institut français

The Institut français is responsible for France’s international cultural program. Supervised by both the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and by the Ministry of Culture, it promotes French culture abroad through cultural exchange initiatives. Operating in a space where the arts, intellectual exchange, cultural and social innovation, and linguistic partnerships interact and intersect, it is also responsible for promoting the French language and the sharing of works, artists, and ideas all over the world. The Institut français is one of Villa Albertine’s main French partners.

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Ateliers Médicis

Located in Clichy-sous-Bois and Montfermeil, in the Seine-Saint-Denis department, the Ateliers Médicis endeavors to promote new and diverse artistic voices. Its artistic residencies, open to artists working in any artistic field, support the creation of works conceived in collaboration with French territories and fosters encounters between artists and inhabitants.


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Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap)

The Centre national des arts plastiques (Cnap) is a public institution under the French Ministry of Culture. It manages over 105,000 works from France’s national contemporary art collection, the Fonds national d’art contemporain. It aims to support and promote artistic creation in France, and assists artists and art professionals with their projects.


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Picto New York

Picto was created in Paris in 1950 by Pierre Gassmann, a true pioneer of photography. Since then, Picto has become a leading partner of the world’s most famous photographers as well as the most prestigious brands in the world of fashion, luxury and beauty.

As part of its international expansion, Picto New York was open in 2015. Picto New York services professional photographers’ needs from scanning, retouching, printing and framing images as well as global luxury brands’ needs for image production, prepress and traffic.

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JCDecaux operates coordinated street furniture franchises in major cities across the U.S., including here in New York. It is continuously working to connect information to stakeholders and identify municipal innovations to enhance the livability and sustainability of streetscapes. A member of the JCDecaux Group, the number one outdoor advertising company in the world, which through its three business segments – street furniture, transport and billboard, has engaged in a virtuous, sustainable business model since its founding in 1964.
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