Notes on Alain Guiraudie’s pictures
These pictures report peculiar occasions that function nothing aside from themselves. They seize time and body an area. Their pleonastic titles verify what we see: Homme et son chien, statue Victor Hugo (Man and his canine, Victor Hugo statue), Clermont jeune à capuche assis (Clermont younger hooded man sitting).
In order to navigate his exhausting drives, AG has renamed all his photographs utilizing tautological descriptions. I see right here the concept he likes them for what they’re, and that they’re nothing greater than that.
When set alongside AG’s movies and novels, these photographs may very well be taken for location snapshots. That’s what they appear to be. And typically that’s what they’re. Nonetheless, AG doesn’t see them as a step in his work.
AG: “I’ve an inclination towards movie documentaries. However each time I’ve set off on this route, I’ve switched to fiction on the best way, the shape hasn’t felt proper, I couldn’t pinpoint the movie. With photographs, I take them on the fly, I seize individuals, atmospheres, moments. I’ve this relationship with life and likewise an aesthetic. I’ve positioned a match, there’s a coherency between the topic and the aesthetic that turns into plain, which I couldn’t attain by way of the cinema. The scopophilia can be higher, I’m nose to nose with an utter otherness, not with a reconstitution or a staging.”
AG as soon as instructed me about his need to cross over the void’s diagonal, that line which begins within the North-East and arrives within the South-West, taking in a few of France’s most depopulated areas.
Right here, for the photographer, lies the will to seize on a (photographic) movie configurations (individuals, locations. . .) with out this changing into a (cinematic) movie. What does AG hunt down, day and night time, in these peri-urban zones, these French and European cities? Types of style scenes which have produced themselves. Utilizing a 50 mm lens, which is reputed for being worthy, distant and never overdoing it, they discover a stability and are articulated round a palette, a form of pictorial magnificence, associated to portray. In rectangles alternating heat and chilly tones distributed over a darkish background, Hambourg immeuble fenêtres colorées (Hamburg constructing coloured home windows). Mild laid over a physique, Homme de dos torse nu (Man from the again torso nude). Blue blotches rising up from the darkness, Clermont trottinette phares (Clermont scooter headlamps). A vibrant, purple stain misplaced within the night time, Homme en rouge et jeune femme derrière (Man in purple and younger girl behind).
They’re typically nearly expository scenes: the preliminary seconds of a movie, on the time when the characters are simply outlines with out identities, life paths or consistency, no extra embodied than their environment: Grille parc Pépinière (Gate park nursery).
An expository scene is a second of purity and, whereas watching a movie, I typically suppose that I may have stopped there, fairly than observe the inevitable improvement, or the play of empathy with the spectator, be it foreseeable or unforeseeable.
Photographic fixity (versus cinematographic dynamics) units a scenario and all its particulars right into a frozen totality; these pictures don’t invite me into an interpretative examination, they report details, every one being of an equal, legible significance: Angers messe de rue (Angers road mass) says as a lot concerning the vaguely pink gentle of a chilly, sunny finish of an autumn day because it does concerning the non secular group gathered in entrance of the cathedral.
In AG’s movies, night time performs an energetic half: the collective unconsciousness (mingling sleepers’ desires, insomniacs’ worries and partygoers’ enthusiasm) produces a form of alchemy appearing, at a reflexive stage, on the conditions and writing of the state of affairs (which shifts into the deconstructed confusion of desires, or nightmares).
Two-dimensional and mounted on photosensitive paper, AG’s night time may need been incarnated as a matte floor that clearly brings out objects, characters, and so forth. This conference may have had its coherency. However as an alternative, right here, revealed on ultra-gloss, ostentatious Fujiflex paper, the night time gleams. A choice for prints of affordable dimensions (they’re all 24 cm large) and the on a regular basis look of the scenes add density to this intense paper, locking shut the doorways of the spectacular.
And this stability awakens in me a vaguely acquainted feeling, perhaps a haunting hint, a whiff of common-or-garden vacation snaps (developed historically on gloss paper) however I don’t know if this was AG’s intention.
Distanced by the documentary presentation of a vertical framing, these photos don’t change into superimposed. However, on drawing nearer, we uncover that they’re much less of an illustration, or an outline of the night time, than of its notion or modus operandi; an immersive area absorbing every part; together with the exhibition area and the spectators which might be mirrored in them. As at night time, we attempt to make out one thing amongst these beings and locations misplaced in a glittering darkish matter: Clermont place Delille SDF avec un chien (Clermont Place Delille homeless with a canine), Clermont jeune à capuche assis (Clermont younger hooded man sitting), Angers fontaine jeune homme en noir. . . (Angers fountain younger man in black).
“(. . .) And I rediscover the cosmos, these stars which might be so distant that they have to burn like a thousand suns for his or her gentle to succeed in us, all these worlds on the transfer, travelling at hundreds of kilometres an hour and us too, and the nebula and the black holes, and I consider the motion born from the Massive Bang which continues to be making the universe develop. I really feel overwhelmed, completely misplaced within the vertigo of the cosmos. And it’s so marvellous and have to be so livid up there that I’m wondering why it’s that I’m extra conscious of the cosmos in my life, my on a regular basis existence. However it doesn’t final very lengthy, as a result of there’s Robert burdening my thoughts, it shook me up listening to him cry like that on the phone, even when that’s not like him, even when usually talking he’d have most well-liked to hold up for no motive and cry all on his personal. I have to name him again someday quickly. And it’d be good to name him with one thing new to inform him, at the least that I’ll come up and see him subsequent weekend, I can’t say in a month’s time, he wouldn’t like that. Or else inform him I gained’t be arising in any respect. That I now not wish to see him. However that’s not potential both. It isn’t even true. It’s simply that I don’t wish to see him now, without delay. I’m wondering what Enric is pondering, what he has to say concerning the universe. I attempt to discover a method to ask him, as a result of it’d be good if we exchanged a couple of phrases, the 2 of us haven’t spoken for ages. However I’ve acquired no thought, ultimately, nothing extra attention-grabbing than “Do you want stargazing?” or “We really feel so small, don’t we?” So I shut up. I have a look at the celebrities a bit of longer and as he nonetheless hasn’t budged, I find yourself by saying:
-I’m going out for a chew to eat, you hungry?”1
Julien Carreyn, 2022
at Crèvecœur, Paris
till March 4, 2023