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Le Carré d’Art : Samuel Bollendorff : Contaminations


I circled the earth in 2018. It only takes a few hours because it is so small and fragile. And wherever my gaze went, it got lost in the darkness. A dead river over 650 km, deformed fish, radioactive forests, children born without eyes, gangsters who traffic nuclear waste, plastic waste adrift in the middle of an ocean that have become the first links in a chain of degenerate food… Why did we let it happen?

Contaminations offers a reflection on irremediable industrial pollution, transforming for decades, even centuries, territories into areas unsuitable for the development of life. A world tour of areas contaminated by man in the 21st century  and his chemical, mining or nuclear industries, which leaves entire swathes of our planet soiled, as a legacy for generations to come.

Methane, prussic acid, phosgene, red phosphorus, ethylene oxide, vinyl chloride, phenols, derivatives of arsenic, cyanide, chlorine, hydrogen sulfide, caustic soda, petroleum, bisphenol, DDT and PCB are all molecules and synthetic products whose concentrations in the soil, water and the food chain will take decades, centuries, sometimes thousands of years, to find concentrations that are viable for humans.

Faced with these findings, the communication discourse of industrialists is cynically violent. Spokesmen for oil companies claim green energy over the tar sands, Brazilian polluters, known for their corruption, are not condemned, and in Fukushima, the plant operator is lobbying to reject its millions of liters of contaminated water in the ocean… and cancer rates are skyrocketing. But manufacturers don’t have a dollar to lose. After me, comes the Flood …

For 20 years, I have worked on precarious subjects. For a long time I imagined that these stories were not mine. Perhaps believing that I could protect myself from the weight of the most fragile testimonies by imagining that I was lucky enough not to be in the situations I was photographing. Today I circled the earth, and saw it so small, so fragile. And our waste is everywhere, contaminating the land, the water and the air. Our immense oceans are soiled as far as the Arctic, thousands of tons of garbage are already polluting space.

To continue is to be blind, these stories are ours.

Samuel Bollendorff


Samuel Bollendorff : Contaminations

from October 9 to November 25, 2020

Le Carré d’Art

Centre culturel Pôle Sud – Chartres de Bretagne

1 rue de la Conterie – BP 37604

35131 Chartres de Bretagne


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