Light by Michel Comte

MAXXI, museo internazionale delle arti del XXI secolo
Rome, Italy
14 November – 10 December 2017


Michel Comte presents for the first time Light, a contemporary multimedia installation on global warming opening at the MAXXI, museo internazionale delle arti del XXI secolo. Join us for the press conference and press preview of the first of a series of exhibitions Comte will present around the world.

Widely known as one of world’s top photographers, Michel Comte presents for the first time a new body of work, Light, which explores the impact of environmental decline on the glaciers and glacial landscapes of the world.

Ten years ago, Comte stopped commercial work to focus on this private passion that has developed into his most extensive project so far. A keen climber and aviator, Comte has been portraying glacial landscapes for the past 30 years.

“When my grandfather [the Swiss pioneer aviator] Alfred Comte crossed the Alps in 1914 for the first time, he came back with the most stunning images of shining glaciers. Gigantic white masses covered the mountain ranges. Almost a century later, I climbed many peaks and realised the fast decline of our glaciers and global ice caps. For decades, I have been revisiting and taking many images from open helicopters, gliding between clouds or simply climbing and witnessing the vanishing icecaps and glaciers of the world”, notes the artist.

Light is study of natural landscapes through large-scale sculptures, photography, video installations and projections. Comte returned to the same places for over a decade to record the alterations in landscape and light patterns. His portraits of the glacial landscape challenge the tradition of classical landscape photography, alternating close-up and partial details with very occasional panoramic views and abstract, vaguely suggestive structures to expose the unpredictable, almost moody nature of these giants. Juxtaposing their gradual disappearance and fragility with their enormous strength, mystery and monumentality, the savage rawness of these images cannot but encite awe, anger and frustration at their erosion and loss. Light is not only an exquisite series of landscapes: it is a reminder of the truth, a highly political statement and a call to arms.

“With Light, I want to demonstrate, that we have the power to create a better and cleaner future…This exhibition demonstrates the rapid process of change and the rising level of the oceans and decline of the remaining ice masses that are essential for our survival”.

Light is the first of a series of exhibitions Comte will present in 2017 and next year, which will be followed by the presentation of Black Light, White Light, a large-scale installation to be unveiled on 28 November at the Triennale di Milano.


Michel Comte, Light, 2017.