PORTFOLIO

Linköping, Sweden - 2021, January & February

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>> Project Statement <<

FREE-ZONE

“It was when I realised I had a new nationality: I was in exile.

I am an adulterous resident: when I am in one city,

I am dreaming of the other.

I am an exile; citizen of the country of longing.”

- Suketu Mehta

In the harshness of the Scandinavian winter, from my home, my “Free-Zone", I captured my blurred reality through my frosted windows. Looking from a distance at the photos in this series, we think we could guess the details of the views out these windows, but, contradictorily, the closer we get (or the more we enlarge them), the more blurry they are. Our attention is then surreptitiously balanced between the view through the window and the frosted details imprisoned in the double glazing: volutes that surprise us dreaming of a cartography of imaginary countries.

 

These windows are the barrier between what I feel and what people see of me, whose effects on the glass change at the pace of my expatriations and my stages of adaptation. Their glass materializes the ice that needs to be broken in order to be open to other people, the cultural difference, the language barrier, the different levels of information, the things that we learn, that we know and that we apprehend differently, such as so many mirages and optical illusions which lend reality to its different representations.

These windows are also the diplomatic borders between my home, my mosaic-refuge made up of small pieces of each of the cultures that I have learned to tame, and the outside, governed by different and not always tangible rules.

Conversely, they are also the reflection of “their home”, of those mysterious and impenetrable neighbours, whose windows seen from the outside seem blind and standardized. I know they conceal behind them an interior, a reflection of a unique individuality, which appearance can look sometimes intense and shimmering, sometimes cold and enigmatic to me. Yet nevertheless always out of my reach.

 

When you live abroad, although you can quickly understand a situation in general terms, you keep this impression that something escapes you, that you feel a constant interval between sound and image, that you do not to stick to the model, for a long time. Such a long time.

Before living in a country, you think you have a rather clear picture of it, but, it is once there only, when you realise that, as in these photos, the more you advance in your discovery, the more this clarity clouds.

 

Anyone who has ever had the experience of fitting into a new culture knows that this feeling of "Lost in Translation" is far more complex than just a question of language. This feeling of navigating in parallel territories that do not belong to anyone, a sort of limbo on the fringes of the borders, I have felt it continuously since my first expatriation in Spain, in 2004. Since then, it has not only followed me during each of my new moves. , but now also on each return to France. When I am asked where I come from, it is these images of this country of nowhere that come to my mind.