The photographic work of Amaury da Cunha often creates an atmosphere of trouble. Beings and things are there without being really there, one would say. Faced with his images, are we certain to deal with what we see clearly enough? It’s never as obvious as it looks and we’re often disturbed and intrigued. It is not only the aesthetic bias that produces this effect, it is the very fact, banal, ordinary, devoid of spectacular. An uncertainty, or rather a sense of uncertainty, emerges. Always, even when it seems anecdotal, the photographed subject is as if surrounded by mystery. The still lifes, the fragments of landscapes even are bathed in them, and even more so the haloed bodies.
Diffused, infused, suggested, he has here more than his share. The frames and lighting the photographer has opted for draw around the things a halo of strangeness destabilizing the gaze. Could we see a form of magic realism? The intensity of his shots is a function of the enigmatic density they give off. Amaury da Cunha wants to tell us that we can never really take the full measure of things, beings, landscapes or objects?
Demeure pays tribute to the multiplicity of sensations caused by the real, life. The corpus of images in Demeure is intentionally heterogeneous. There are however patterns (or figures) that come back from these small units of perception. It was necessary to distribute them harmoniously. It is not a series of images, but rather a collection to resume a poetic terminology, or a sequence, if we think of the cinema that has unintentionally influenced some of these photographs. Without doubt, the question of the face arises here. The beloved face, the face that reveals itself, the face that escapes.
As for the autobiographical dimension, it is underlying, not central, exploded. Since da Cunha’s photography, uses his life as a material, but he does not give it to be seen as something literal. The identities of places and beings are floating, temporality remains ghostly. He thinks a photograph never conforms to what it shows. As he points out, “What do you really learn from me in these images? Few things. Snatches of mysteries, maybe. No doubt a mixture of fear and desire. ”
Demeure is first of all a book, the fourth photographic monograph of Amaury da Cunha bringing together 47 images, mixing color and black and white, taken during the last 18 years.
To try to elucidate the secret of his photographs, Amaury da Cunha entrusted this care to Sylvie Gracia to associate words, in all discretion. In the book all texts are slipped inside Japanese folds, that is to say between pages that were not cut during the production of the book. The reading is thus hampered and invites the reader to manipulate the work in an unusual way.
This exhibition is a set of an extract of this book, combining texts and images and highlighting the dual approach of this author, literary and visual.
Amaury da Cunha – Demeure
from September 12 to November 3, 2019
Le Château d’Eau
1 Place Laganne