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La Cité Radieuse by Le Corbusier is not only a masterpiece of contemporary architecture but also one of the strong emblems of the Marseille city and it is from this Housing Unit that dominates the city, on the 8th floor of a room at the Hôtel Corbusier, which I wanted to photograph the soul of my city, Marseille. What emerges from this urban portrait is a photographic narrative made up of 32 photographs.
Éric Petr’s Radiant Night, photographic story | text by Canoline Criticks
“I wanted to talk about my city ; Marseille, an unloved and yet so beautiful city, split by its scars, its urban wounds, which offers its divine protection of the Good Mother only to those who marvel at it.”
Éric Petr voluntarily immersed himself in a familiar environment full of landmarks. Despite a precise knowledge of the place, he nevertheless chose wandering and pictorial surprise. In the intimacy of a place, an apartment located on the 8th floor of the radiant city of Le Corbusier where one can contemplate the beauty of the Phocaean city, he took his photographs using a digital camera mounted on a lens from the sixties. The images were captured in a single shot, spontaneously, without post processing in December 2020.
Seen from its heights, Marseille, city of sleeping light, gives an impression of life, of movement. The freeze frames reconstruct the identity of the city. These are fortuitous encounters, city presences revealed at night and invested by plural sensations, passing through an avalanche of signs with multiple detonations. The experimentation of each new space propels dissimilar elements even if the visual abstraction does not lend itself to the game of reference. The shots are natural but hectic, civilized but devoid of humanity.
Yet they resonate the narrative potential. The luminous lines of housing, buildings, roads, mingle and intertwine without distinction. It is an encounter with the indeterminable, a wandering in the imagination of a territory without borders, seemingly free of associations whose fine enlightened links draw up the poetry of reality.
“The recording of the vibrations of the city restores an invisible spectrum and testifies to the extraordinary to tell a reverie transcribed in a visual idiom where one sees in filigree in the interstices of the signs, the indescribable beauty of Marseille immersed in its sleep.”
Éric’s work perceives the city as a connected network where intersections of collective history accumulate over time. Through the image, he reveals the presence of memory strata, awakens the remanences that the present leaves us with from the past, revealing a natural selection of the cliché by summoning ghosts and witnesses.
“Cities are located at crossing points of energy lines, such as Ley lines. In these places, for millennia, fascinating things have been practiced from a symbolic point of view.“
The photographer is interested in what our images reveal of fascination and sublimation. It leaves in suspense the meaning resulting from a series of impenetrable questions. His photographs are of great poetic force. They carry the tension of the moment without offering any description. And are interested in the attempt to record, to pause on a non-linear, apparently uncontrollable movement of an illuminated city with a fiery and joyful temperament.
Emerging talents in contemporary art