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Jean Larivière : Bercy, Bomber & Punchinello


Bercy. Portrait of a building

Passing by chance in front of the Ministry of Finance during a reportage, I took a picture. When I developed the film, a photo stands out from the lot representing the side of the building overlooking the Seine. What is striking to me is that the building in question looks like a robot of the 50s.

I decided to make a portrait. Portrait of a building.

It was then necessary to re-photograph it, more precisely. With few changes, the building turned into a robot. And to stay in the mood, I had a UFO, at the top right of the image.

In the other panel of the diptych, is one of his playmates, a Japanese toy robot, very gwell-made. One of the best at the time.

In the 1950s, these toys often had a small television screen where space vehicles spitting sparks could be seen.

I used this screen and had all the ministers who directed this building scrolling through. We were as happy to watch them scroll as we watched Guignol at the Champs-Elysees roundabout, the Luxembourg Gardens or the Casino de la Bourboule in 1945.


Bomber. Portrait of a leaf

Design of the work

Like many boys I was passionate about planes.

Much later one of my friends was in charge of a B17 bomber, he took me aboard at a rally in England.

During one of the passages of the meeting I saw by the window front right of the cockpit another bomber that one an English, Avron Lancaster and in a second everything returned to me.

The bombardment I had lived in 1944, the evening of Pentecost.

The Lancaster razed the place where I lived, the Place de la Visitation in Angers.

You will have more details when my book on my work comes out.

In 2000 ? I was working on a photographic research on leaves, I had just developed a 4×5 film  of a leaf found in my yard.

And I was watching it on the light table with a loupe.

And suddenly, I had a flash, what I saw looked amazingly like what an aviator saw from his bomber.

Roads, fields, streams, settlements, forests and even the glow of bomb explosions.

I went immediately to England in search of the Lancaster.

I found one in a museum that had participated in this bombing and another machine kept in a small aerodrome in the fans ran the engines once a year and I recorded their sounds inside the plane.

A few miles away, a military airport had the last Lancaster that could still fly and I was able to record the noise of the engines from outside on the ground and in flight.

With my friend sound engineer we were able to make the noises of the 125 Lancaster squadron that had bombarded me (s).

The sounds of this recording can be heard through two accessible headsets placed on supports on each side of the work.


Portrait of a Punchinello

It’s a diptych.

On the right, the color photograph of a magnificent Punchinello, an old toy from 1870.

On the left, the black and white photograph represents the belly of a pregnant woman, in the middle of the belly a button allows to open a drawer, in the bottom of this drawer will appear all the gestation of the Punchinello, animation with drawings and collages .

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