A travel album almost a century old, made up of these small sepia prints so characteristic of an era, accompanied by brief captions written in Indian ink. It reveals the discovery of Lebanon, where this amateur photographer has just settled with his family: this is the starting point of Mathieu Pernot‘s project, developed from his grandfather’s journey in Lebanon and Syria in 1926, but also in Iraq, among the vestiges of the ancient civilizations of the Middle East.
In 2019, Mathieu Pernot discovered the family apartment in Beirut, where his grandparents and his father had lived since their arrival in 1925. Then, when he returned there a year later, following the deadly explosion in the harbor that occurred on August 4, 2020, the building was inaccessible and in danger of collapsing. To the ancient ruins was then added the ruin of his home, the house where his father grew up, loaded with memory and symbols.
Throughout his journey, his gaze was struck by still other ruins, those of contemporaneity, which continue to multiply and lead to a tragic exodus. With remarkable documentary quality, Mathieu Pernot reveals these devastated territories to us to express the monumental defeat of our time. An inversely proportional equation which is finally established with the amateur photos, full of sensitivity, taken by his grandfather.
La ruine de sa demeure, exhibition by Mathieu Pernot
Until June 19, 2022
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
79, rue des Archives 75003 Paris