Empire of dust
Empire of dust has been realized in southern Italy, in regions of Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata and Puglia, where financial crises and embezzlement have made of the incompleteness, an architectural aesthetics.
Through this series, Amélie Labourdette tries jointly through an «archeology of present» to reflect the contemporary history by the yardstick of these unfinished architectures, while invoking the viewer’s imagination so that there unfolds “a variant of the world”.
« On each photographs, emanates a disquieting strangeness: unfinished villa, ghost dam or building left as skeleton, all architectures reflect a real estate disaster. Their concrete body, naked and disarmed, accuse also a premature aging, cracks overgrown by vegetation or first signs of crumbling: the ruin threatens, especially palpable in a vitality lushgreenery seizing, coniferous forest erected on a mountainside, palm trees and passion fruits, tall fennels with yellow flowers. In the manner of ancient ruins, these human constructions which seem to getting back to nature, to be reabsorbed by the environment they emerged one day. »¹
Concrete skeletons of major projects remained pending, of unfinished buildings, recurring patterns of our time affected by socio-economic upheavals, become also, because of their incompleteness, interstitial spaces of indeterminacy, conducive to a photographic quest, exploring the possibilities of a singular reinvestment of the world: they are proving to be, spaces and indefinite forms that have, due to their incompleteness, a «becoming-other» that the design of the initial project had dedicated them.
These indefinite forms, between upcoming ruins and potential sculptures, are drawing the figure of a strange present between dystopia and utopia, contemplating its own suspended space : a temporal interregnum between, an after the «disaster» and a revival of history that builds a new poetic area, over which hovers the specter of the end of a certain world.
« The moment of capture stretches until become an ethereal period, creating a sense of unreality: the static light, the lack of shadows realize a shift in temporal stratification of the landscape that contains preludes the past, evidence of this, and stigma of the future. »²
All these photographs form thus a space of imaginary speculation, inviting the viewer to weave improbable links between different referential and memory layers of history: from the school of Düsseldorf to the minimalist sculptures of the 60s, or else to the monumental interventions of Land Art, but also from the ruins of the German romantic painting to the «forward-looking ruins» of the science fiction novels, such as Earth Abides of G.R. Stewart, describing a post-human era, where nature gets over on human constructions.
« Is that these ruins are for Amelie Labourdette, «holes in the real», gates, ways to access time itself: in front of these, we become archaeologists of our time, we wear, in the manner of astronauts of The Planet of the Apes, a look back at our present, our future too. »³
« Suspended in a floating temporality, these landscapes reflect the depths a familiar human history, made of hubris and vanity, entropy and inevitable return to dust. »⁴
¹ REVUE 303 N°138 Design: Chronicles / Contemporary Art / Éva Prouteau, pages 80-81.
² REVUE 303 N°140 « Ruines et vestiges »: Carte blanche to Amélie Labourdette / text : Julien Zerbone.
³ Dossier de Presse Exibition Galerie RDV / Léa Cotart-Blanco.
⁴ REVUE 303 N°138 Design: Chronicles / Contemporary Art / Éva Prouteau, pages 80-81.
Location: Southern Italy