Alexa Brunet

1977, born in Angers, France
Nominee - Prix Elysée 2021

Represented by the collective TRANSIT and SAIF Images, Alexa Brunet is a French photographic artist who studied at Belfast’s Art College and the ENSP in Arles. Her intrinsically documentary approach involves working closely with authors and journalists. Influenced by painting, magical realism and cinema, for several years Brunet has been producing symbolic, poetic photographs that are sometimes absurd, sometimes dark. Through the lens of fiction, she interprets contemporary issues such as shale gas, housing and the downward spiral of industrial farming.


Odyssée 2.0

In this new project entitled Odyssey 2.0, the compositions with their quirky, symbolic, surreal or futuristic dimension re-establish the original meaning of the texts at a time when the manipulation of words is constantly inversing their true sense. This elicits the emergence of a brand new perspective of the encounter between two different styles of writing: words and pictures.

The first image is born of a rereading of Homer’s Odyssey. On his long journey home to Ithaca, Ulysses is confronted with promises that open doors to unknown worlds, from the land of oblivion with the lotus-eaters to the immortality offered by Calypso during his final stopover. Must one leave the known world to enter into new horizons? Ulysses answers this question with a resounding “no” in his desire to remain human and therefore mortal.

The clash of this image with the teeming technological possibilities of our 21st century is what lies at the heart of this project. Instant access to a colossal mass of data, knowledge of the future, the compression of time and the promise of omnipotence that materialises by touch or voice command is the everyday life we are constantly being promised – the promise of “augmented reality” and “artificial intelligence”. But is reality really being augmented…or influenced and steered? The labelling and codification of human experience opens up a horizon of control and rationality from which the unexpected has disappeared.

For Alexa Brunet, starting out with this initial image means challenging reality through what the legendary world of Ancient Greece reveals to us. Basing her work on a photographic narrative mirroring the mythological tale, she documents this new universe where artificial creatures have replaced the legends passed down as stories. Her project aims to illustrate the modern human adventure by echoing the ancient myths.