The signs that would make it possible to identify the European cities crossed by Laure Abouaf are very rare and equivocal as soon as one thinks of having found them. The name of these localities is not indicated in the form of a lcaption that would require of us to search in our travel memories what, in any case, we would not find inside the photographic frame. In fact, unlike the postcard or travel reportage, the series excludes from its field of vision the local color, the typical detail, the exotic note, the picturesque setting or the folkloric atmosphere. However, the absence of the usual processes of enhancement of these urban scenes and their anonymity itself, do not make them enigmatic. These photographic places are, in a way, common places in the sense that they appear similar – and not alike – to others we encounter in ordinary life. This cultivated similarity means that they belong less to a precise geographic space than to the photographer.
Laure Abouaf’s photographs, although they differ from the genre of the urban landscape, and even street photography, one of whose characteristics is the human presence, remain strongly linked, however, to the urban space that they explore in a unusual way. They explore visual hierarchies that do not correspond to those that are constantly and trivially constructed by our perceptions of reality. This difference could be explained once and for all by the lazy argument of opposing the artist’s vision to the simple phenomenon of sight, when both apply to identical subjects. But if we take seriously the setting aside of the names of places wanted by the photographer, we are led to think that this work erects a parallel world to ours and that the photographic space it reveals questions the very notion of space. We know that this last notion has evolved in history and that the perception that man has of the world has varied considerably over the centuries: the closed world of the Middle Ages, divided into sacred and secular spaces, differs profoundly to the enlightened world of the Enlightenment which discovers an infinite space. There is no doubt that in this story, photography has significantly changed the common notion that we have of space, understood as the environment in which all our perceptions are located.
Thus, by looking at what we do not see, Laure Abouaf makes cuts in our daily space and produces shots which, in their way, are a deafening sacralisation.
Laure Abouaf – Approach(s) – European Cities
05.04 – 07.26
Galerie Domus-University Claude Bernard Lyon 1
31 avenue Pierre de Coubertin