Yves Marchand (1981) & Romain Meffre (1987), French Artists
I remember it was on spring 2011, in Paris. I spent one evening on the apartment of one the best specialist in Chinese photography. Her bookcase was fool of multitude of books. One of those publications was remaining face on: the cover was representing a cliché of a huge building. Perspective lines, angular lines, vanishing points… this image was a perfect creation. Between nature and men’s hands creation.
This book was titled “The Ruins of Detroit” by the photographers Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. The two French had immortalized the remains of the Motor City. And with this work had pointed the significance of the great history of Detroit.
Why this kind of ruins had fascinated me immediately at the moment where I see it. Is it not only a coincidence that I have been touched exactly with the same intensity by this strange city that those two French photographers? Maybe it is our sense of heritage education that pushes us to look at every ruin as a witness of our time, our decadence, our sensibility of human being. Creation and decline as a statement of life cycle.
In January 2013, I had the opportunity to walk on the streets of Detroit, and this city change my outlooks for a long time.
[ Please see also the great set of Gunkanjima 軍艦島 photography released by the two artists about the ruins of the Japanese Island. ]
Ruins are the visible symbols and landmarks of our societies
and their changes, small pieces of history in suspension.
The state of ruin is essentially a temporary situation that happens at
some point, the volatile result of change of era and the fall of empires.
This fragility, the time elapsed but even so running fast, lead us to watch them one very last time :
being dismayed, or admire, making us wondering about the permanence of things.
Photography appeared to us as a modest way
to keep a little bit of this ephemeral state.