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15.6.05

Les Transphotographiques

Claire Guillot has reviewed an interesting new photography exhibit in an article (Territoire et paysage en creux aux Transphotographiques, June 16) for Le Monde. Well, new to me anyway, since this is the fifth year for Les Transphotographiques (it opened on May 25 and continues until June 25). A new curator is selected each year, and this year photography historian Anne de Mondenard, has brought together thirteen photographers for the official show (with many more in an ancillary "Off" exhibit) on the theme Hors circuits (meaning, more or less, Off the beaten path). The works are shown in large format, outdoors, at various locations in Lille and other towns in northeastern France, with an outpost in Courtrai, Belgium. The show has been extensively reviewed in the press.

Across from the Lens Town Hall, outdoors, on large PVC panels, there are a dozen photographs of old cars loaded with junk. These are Thomas Mailaender's Voitures cathédrales (Car cathedrals), presented as part of the Transphotographiques festival. The term, invented by dockworkers in Marseille, indicates the cars used by immigrants to go back to North Africa in the summer. The prices on the ferry are high, so owners attempt to construct, on the roof of their old R20 or Peugeot Break 304, teetering piles of stuff that climb toward the sky, where we can see plastic chairs, a sink, a refrigerator. The young photographer has taken these cars' portraits, from behind or in profile, removing the background, to isolate them in the frame. Evoking sculpture, these cars say a lot about the voyage to come, especially about the disconnect between two worlds. For these old piled-up objects, without value to European eyes, are treasure to others. Thus the artist creates a negative image of two worlds that are ignorant of one another, without ever really showing either of them, on both sides of the Mediterranean.
There is an image of one of these photographs here. For your perusal, there are write-ups and images of the artists in the official exhibit and the Off exhibit. The big names, according to Claire Guillot, are Raymond Depardon ("undertaking a documentary work on the land of France," written up a few days ago in an article for Le Monde) Sophie Ristelhueber, and Paolo Roversi ("ghostly shots taken in his studio, on the margin of his own fashion photography").

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