Empire of Dust reveals Italy as a land of ecomostri. This neologism, synonymous with offensive to the eye, or inadequacy to the landscape, designates a plurality of situations referring to unfinished constructions – hotels, motorway sections, bridges, isolated villas, even entire villages. Some buildings are public, others are private. Some are illegal, others remain incomplete due to a lack of funds, or are simply a cloak for money laundering.. Beyond their shape and statuary design, these structures reveal the realities that permeate the economy and society of Southern Italy: money laundering, embezzlement, mafia activity, lack of consideration for the common good, and so on.
These indefinite forms, somewhere between future ruins and potential sculptures, paint the outline of a strange present between dystopia and utopia, the revival of history building on a new poetic area, over which hovers the specter of the end of a certain kind of world.
By questioning the notion of territory to be built, domesticated or artistically redefined, Amélie Labourdette seeks to reveal the temporality and many-layered identity of a landscape. Her photographic projects are set up on the basis of an existing state of things and use landscape as a reference to both our individual and collective memory.
For art critic and curator Theo-Mario Coppola, “The Empire of Dust series delivers traces of an archeology of the present, with its remains, clues and stories. The artist does not fix them with a catalogue raisonné in the manner of Bernd and Hilla Becher, but rather chooses to build a set of sculptural forms without attempting to be comprehensive. Nor does she dwell on the spectacular and its effects, but distances the immediate gaze. And these clichés are not documents – these architectural structures are also captured for their strength and physical presence, taken in a natural environment sometimes difficult to access. They are the expression of an individual emotion, a relationship between the body and architecture, a journal of exploration.”
Galerie Thierry Bigaignon
9, rue Charlot, 75003 Paris, France
November 09, 2017 to December 23, 2017