The photographic identity of a city or a country is never trivial. If Paris, London, New York, France, the United States and many others benefit, from this point of view, from a privileged treatment, Belgium has rarely been an object of creations for an author, to the exception perhaps of Brussels. La Belgique, l’air de rien, copious book imagined by the French photographer Bernard Plossu, with the diversity of his images and their stylistic coherence, travels through Brussels, Liège, Charleroi, Antwerp, the North Sea, the agricultural regions.
These are cinematographic images, tracking shots suggested by the catenary cables, the shiny tram tracks. These are architectural compositions, involuntary (the Charleroi metro) or perfectly mastered (the Guillemins station in Liège). These are views through the window of a train, of a car. It’s the light, tan dusk when the still pale gleam of the headlights is multiplied on the roads made slippery by the rain. The Belgium of Plossu is in line with that of the Belgians: sunny and rainy, sometimes at the same time.
Between the lines emerges a history of industrial, cultural, urban and social, economic and institutional Belgium.
Black and white images can exude nostalgia; the color prints of the Fresson process are warmer. Each tells a snippet of a story that is built over the pages, when the views resonate: it is indeed a book that it is, a portrait of a country less improbable than it seems.
Bernard Plossu was born in 1945 in Vietnam. He began to photograph at the age of 13 in the Sahara. At 20, he was in Mexico; From then on he continued to travel and enrich a photographic work celebrated in 1988 with an exhibition at the Center Pompidou and the National Photography Grand Prix, and in 2007 with a retrospective at the Strasbourg Museum of Modern Art. At Yellow Now editions, he published: Train de Lumière (2000) ; So Long (2007) ; La frontera (2007) ; Plossu Cinéma (2010) ; … Des millions d’années… La réserve géologique de Haute-Provence (2010) ; L’Inverse est exactement vrai. à Digne (2010) ; Le Pays des petites routes. En Ardèche (2011) ; The Raw Edge. Vière et les Moyennes Montagnes (avec Richard Nonas, 2012) ; 8 / Super 8 (2012), La Rencontre (2020), and in the collection « Les carnets » : Les Mots de l’image ; 2 CV. Un air de liberté ; Periferia. Échos du néo-réalisme ; Revoir Magritte ; À boire et à manger ; Lire/écrire.
Bernard Plossu : La Belgique, l’air de rien
Text by Bernard Marcelis (French / Dutch)
304 pages /// Format 21 x 16.5 cm
Ill. b & w and colors Fresson /// Soft cover with flaps
Collection : Côté photo
ISBN 9782873404789 /// 40 €
Editions Yellow Now
15, rue François Gilon
4367 Crisnée, Belgique.