After Empire - Reflections

April 18, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

After Empire is a reflection on the passing of time. Beasts in the empty halls of a disused factory go about their lives indifferent, mostly,  to the remaining fragments of an imposing past. But sometimes the abandoned sculptures meet each other or with animals to commune in a silent dialogue between the present and survivors from the past.

 

Time passing is indicated by the the subject and the materials of this series:

These halls of Babcock-Wilcox, half of the more than century-old factory complex, were demolished two weeks after I took this one spool of twelve photographic negatives which serve as the background environment to the scenes.

The glass they are printed on are the panes of a dismantled greenhouse from between the two World Wars, relics of when Paris was surrounded by towns and villages where heavy industry co-existed with the market-gardens that fed the city.

The sculptures and fragments are of classical sculptures from the Louvre Museum, the National Museum in Athens and the Museum of Rouen. Gods, goddesses, emperors, warriors, ephebes and nymphs - all survivors of the past,  today extracted from their original contexts.

Photography itself is a process which engages us with things past. Susan Sontag in « On Photography », talks of all photographs being « memento mori ». The subject is dead and all that remains is the photograph as a gateway for the imagination to a visit a world that no longer exists.

Marcel Proust in « Swann’s Way », writes, "Photography acquires some of the dignity it lacks when it ceases to be a reproduction of the real and shows us things that have ceased to exist. »

 

The series employs this melancholy trait of photography to show us ghosts to  offer whimsical images  nature re-inhabiting her dominium amongst the shards of past civilizations in a factory that no longer exists, all on panes of glass that  ceased to be a greenhouse  several generations ago.

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