European Vintage

June 8 - July 29 2017

Presentation

It is our great pleasure to be able to present Jean-Christophe's meanderings across Europe in a series of never-before-seen images. He dug deep into his personal archives and came up with original prints that he himself made, the sort of "vintage" artist prints that collectors so dearly covet. This new collection contains images in colour as well as black and white, on Baryta prints and Cibachrome, offering originals of the images that eventually went into European Puzzle. They represent variations that play with camera angles and printing techniques, together reflecting the photographer's eye.

Press kit

PRESS RELEASE



My interest in Europe was born in 1991, in Moscow, where I experienced first hand the coup d'état that toppled Mikhail Gorbachev and signalled the end of the USSR. At that time I knew that our 'old' continent was entering a new era. I decided to take visual documentation throughout my travels. I learned about the relativity of notions and borders; I felt the weight of differing climates and personal histories; I became interested in myths and the people who perpetuate them: writers, musicians, poets and artists... Over the years, I felt myself becoming more and more 'European', but I also witnessed the resurfacing of scars of an unfinished political past and the delicate promises of a common, hypothetical future. I sensed a fragile world with deeper and deeper fissures. An uncertain space where all of our contemporary contradictions crystallised.

My photographs narrate a journey, the journey of a generation that believed in the end of borders and the abandonment of nationalisms. A generation that most likely failed because it was too idealistic, too sensitive to symbols, too forgetful of daily realities. I preferred to capture the 'long term' rather than moments of crisis and current affairs, reflecting the more literary perspective that is appropriate to aimless travels, unexpected encounters, forgotten spaces and uncertain atmospheres. European Village is a rereading of my book European Puzzle, whose 220 images offer a complex collection of street scenes, portraits and landscapes. Each image is captured in the movement of the real, often taken on the spot. In both colour and black and white, these images focus as much on architecture as on people, on atmospheres as on light, on small, trifling chance occurrences as on moments of history. A silent, winding progression emerges that combines the spirit of documentary with an urge for the poetic...

 

Jean-Christophe Béchet

April 2017