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Jacques Borgetto’s Tibet, so close to the sky and so far away


The voyage is often at the source of Jacques Borgetto’s work. Photographer and traveller “for the long haul”, his way of proceeding is like that of an explorer. Motivated at first by a desire to retrace the steps of his emigre Italian great-uncles to Latin America, Borgetto hasn’t stopped setting off to explore regions to which he has become devoted, to report on their evolution over the years. This, in Argentina, Chile, Japan, Tibet, by going beyond the inner journey to focus his attention on the  others to understand and  become part of the culture.

With the work that he has built up, country by country, Jacques Borgetto has created his own atlas. While relying on the classic genres of portraiture and landscape, he takes a new look at unknown countries and civilisations and succeeds in giving an intimate vision of them. The images resulting from his encounters magnify the places visited, their landscapes, heritage and culture, without wanting to obscure the tensions of the economic and political context.

Borgetto most often chooses to work in black and white for images of a sensitive nature, dark and strongly contrasted, mysterious and, at the same time, dense with information. In his Tibet, colour has only recently intervened and especially in his springtime landscape photographs, as if to highlight the softness of the fields and hills, the luminosity of the sky and the harmony of the architecture. His black and white seems to want to express the strong spirituality of Tibet and at the same time, the nostalgia for a world that risks fading slowly away under the weight of the present restrictions.

In Tibet Borgetto shows the serenity, the daily and the spiritual life, the continuing traditions and the approaching modernity , but where the immensity of the sky, so present in his pictures, seems to evoke the question of  denied territory  as a form of celestial resistance.

In the wake of Georges Bataille who in 1947 spoke about the “mystery of Tibet”, as is often the case for  us  westerners, for Borgetto Tibet has always represented a great mystery and has exerted a strong attraction, feelings nourished by his many readings.

But he also seems to translate the power of Buddhist thinking, thought made reality, identified and identifiable in a country that, even if China’s hostage , alone seems to resist the violence, turbulence and globalisation that rules the rest of the world.

Laura Serani

Laura Serani in an author and independent exhibition curator who lives and works in Paris, France.


Jacques Borgetto, Si près du ciel, le Tibet
From 5th April to 27th May 2017
Espace photographique de Sauroy
58 rue Charlot – 75003 Paris

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