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19.11.06

Dom Garcia's Buildings

Don Garcia, Immeuble 43Photographer Dom Garcia has an exhibit, In & Off, right now at the Galerie Sit Down (4, rue Sainte-Anastase) in Paris, through December 2. This is a series of portraits of buildings, skyscrapers and a few smaller apartment buildings, all of which are located just outside the boulevard périphérique, the beltway that goes around Paris and marks the city's border. Height laws restrict the building of skyscrapers within Paris, which is one of the things that makes that city so beautiful. (Washington, D.C., has similar laws, by the way.) However, when you drive on the BP, you see these buildings with their colorful neon signs and advertisements, like a hallucinatory vision of the world outside the protected zone. The photograph shown here is of the Pirelli building at the Porte de Clignancourt, which I have driven by many times, so it brought back a lot of memories. To look at some of these photographs, Le Monde has a nice online feature ("In and off" : les immeubles périphériques de Dom Garcia, November 18). It's done in Flash, which is annoying. If it really bothers you, there is an HTML version without Flash, made for printing, although the images are smaller.

This is apparently a theme in Garcia's work. The work is beautiful, with the buildings shot at dusk or full night, which accentuates the colored lights and contrasts. If Eugène Atget's photographs make Paris look surrealistic, Garcia's buildings have a Barnett Newman-like calm, but glowing like a Dan Flavin.

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