- dystopian circles / fragments...all along
- Armand Quetsch
- Collection CNA – Centre national de l’audiovisuel, Dudelange / © Armand Quetsch
- Curated by
- CNA – Centre national de l’audiovisuel, Luxembourg together with the Ministry of Culture and the Permanent Representation of Luxembourg to the Council of Europe. The CNA’s mission is to preserve and promote Luxembourg’s audio-visual heritage and to make it accessible to all through the means of exhibitions, publications, residencies, commissions, grants, screenings, lectures, talks and other events aimed at a broad audience.
- Technical details
- Series of black and white and colour photographs
Letter to my friend,
Your project will come to an end and I wanted to write a few lines to somehow conclude it in my own way. Well, conclude it…not really.
If I remember it right, you wanted to head to Lampedusa, trace a north-south line. You wanted to take the migration path by reverse, without any journalistic intention. It was the landscapes that you were interested in. You were curious. You were eager to see them, to see them for real.
On a large part of your journeys, you travelled alone, most of it, I think. The roads that you chose, and on whom I had the pleasure to join you from time to time, are long and old. Running through varied landscapes, they lead to these places that called you. Very often these are "politically" charged. They are recognizable, registered in history. They share your route where the landmarks were places bound up to some form of violence or crisis, an overthrow, a dystopia. From Brussels to the Obersalzberg, you headed down to see Sarajevo to then take the direction of Athens. You drove all the way to Lampedusa, photographed Tirana as well as Cornelius Gurlitt’s house, in the Alps and Reggio Calabria; a wandering between chosen relays.
You made this work with rigor and constancy during all its elaboration. Always this small rite before the shooting; verify a multitude of technical aspects peculiar to the photographer who obeys time, the one who knows that the gestation lies just here, in these common gestures, in their silence, in this rhythm of the technical preparation. Let things happen, start with a long time of observation to finally to seize what photographically appears to you. A slowness you master…a journey against the current of the frenzy, as a trip, an invisible one, preparatory to this one. Unpretentious, without any will to denote or even to say, a silent witness that learnt to blend in, at the level of man, at the level of sand, where the look is low to really see.
The conceited and narcissistic tone, so present nowadays, it is not part of your universe. You disregard it. Like a child ignores his carefreeness, you affix to those places this physical and mental innocence, a pure subjectivity, which I admire so much, my friend.
Nevertheless, we chatted hours of all these questions dealing with the individual, the peoples, their subjection, the history, the freedom, the brotherhood and this damn necessity for anarchy. With always engraved in my head, this introduction by Léo Ferré: „douce anarchie, adorable anarchie, tu n’es pas un parti, un système, une référence mais la seule invention de l’homme pour lutter contre son désespoir. Tu es l’avoine du poète.“ *
Convinced to explore a Balkan wild west in "slippers and wife beater", I joined you on an April morning in Montenegro. Within the first hours of the next day, we had small shots of homebrewed alcohol in a landscape that had turned white overnight. Your trip was there. I understood that you wanted to immerge into these territories. You wanted to know, not to recognize. You wanted only your eyes to shout out the truth of these places disguised by the anaemic and wasted look of the western media. You made this journey from which we are so many to avoid the call. And you made it, simple, without any fuss, because you are a person of integrity, free, just as are your images.
There, where the borders seem to entail the world in an internal and sterile whirlwind, you give back to those places their once tampered freedom. You reveal their unknown resources and you cordially lay them on the lively river of their open future. Besides, « L’Europe» by Brigitte Fontaine and Bertrand Cantatas ritornello of your journey is uncommon enough. « Nous travaillons actuellement pour l’Europe, voir pour le monde ». ...
I like your work, I like these crossed landscapes, I love those who live in them, I like the new days, I like the anarchy and I love you. « deux fois ».
* "Soft anarchy, adorable anarchy, you are not a party, a system, a reference but an only invention of the man to fight against his despair. You are the oat of the poet."