«Maison Blanche» Serie
Memory / Border / Passage …
“Maison Blanche/White House”, the oldest psychiatric hospital in France (with Ville Evrard), thirty-seven buildings dedicated to the destruction, some still in function, housed in the hollow of a park with century-old trees, located in Neuilly-sur-Marne ; sometimes rented for cinema, photography, this is how I discovered this place.
Historically a busy site: many famous patients, from Antonin Arthaud to Camille Claudel or Gérard de Nerval were interned there, but also a place of madness, a real city separated from the capital, which at the most intense moments of its activity was populated Nearly five thousand people, staff and patients alike, with its kitchens, baths, places of treatment, rooms, shops.
In search of imprints, signs, ghost / presence, I confronted myself with an image of reality: an empty space, bare without other traces than those left by the aftermath of a hasty move.
This reality, thus discovered, taking “existence” only in the eyes of the “spectator”, is also a producer of imaginary possibilities for this one. It is this “possible” generator of poetry that led me to question, to photograph the signifier and its reading.
If I chose this place rather than another it is also because it contains a story built on the borders of our social corpus: madness, often designated as a place outside our “understanding”.
In asking me the question of “visible” madness, or its remaining scars in the walls, I did not seek to define it as existing, but as a possible common to our collective imagination.
Because always present, in my mind, possible passage of our fragile understanding, madness is close to us in that it is the counterpart of our “normality”.
So I tried to see what the looker could imagine, which I myself seemed to see; Using the formal photographic writing, I wanted to make an inventory: that of a deserted hospital; a contemplative meditation, that of a possible poetry.
Technically I have optics such as 35 and 24 mm digital to a rigorous use of daylight, without addition of other source. Some of these images are reworked in post-production to accentuate the “intimate” aspect, but it is more of a rendering job than a retouching or manipulation. Thus privileging the work of shooting and his “attention” particular, as I realized in other previous work.
“In these photographs, the” cut “is in no way a simple mechanical phenomenon. It is the only thing which constitutes the image, and which by constituting it, implies that photography is an absolute transformation of reality ” and this in order to create a fantasy reading.
The prints of the Maison Blanche series exposed to the gallery were made by Armelle Chopin at Vikart, Paris.