L’inachevé (The Unfinished)

EXHIBITION BY JULIEN LOMBARDI
8 – 22 November 2017

2012 – 2015

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia has been making the transition between the old order and a new political project that has yet to be achieved. With difficulty, another model is taking shape, one that remains impossible to define, as its form is continually shifting while the hardships facing the country are numerous. Two decades have passed and the country is still evolving on the sidelines, according to its own rules, and in its own time.

Contemporary Armenia is outside the flow of images, and illustrations of this young republic’s development are lacking, absent or even hidden. However, the issues affecting the territory of Armenia are in many ways indicative of the challenges of our time: how to reconstruct after the breakup of a union? How to develop a narrative for this new state without denying its history?

With the reappearance of its borders has come the need for 70 years of regional planning and political and economic organisation to be thought out anew amid conflict and isolation. Vestiges of the soviet era remain in this country of pastoral tradition, where everything goes on without anything definitive coming about. The environment is changing, but the present is sidestepped through the people’s aspirations for a more promising future.

Image by image, L’inachevé provides a visual investigation within a land immersed in waiting, as if in suspension. The captured spaces have the poetry of the unaccomplished, even unresolved, and they reflect an environment in search of a new definition. They comprise the scenery of a play that is to be performed, but according to uncertain timing. Rather than documenting the current situation, these photographs are directed towards history that has yet to be made and its prospects for renewal.

Through the demonstration of a theatrical dimension of reality, they question the possibilities of revival for this young republic, which is inexorably being emptied of its inhabitants. In this context, space becomes the mirror of a people’s struggle to recover their territory, and can be seen in the photographs of L’inachevé as bearing witness to memory in the course of its taking form.

 

JULIEN LOMBARDI

Having graduated with a Masters in Ethnology, Julien Lombardi is an artist who uses photography as a tool of field research and visual investigation.

His work gained widespread exposure when he was awarded the Bourse du Talent in 2009 for his series Artefact. This work of nocturnal exploration probes rural space and is based on a collection of objects freed from their utility. Several prints from this series are included in private and public collections (BNF, Artothèque Départementale du Lot, Pôle photographique Le Château d’Eau).

Since then, his work has been exhibited regularly in galleries, festivals and art centres in France and abroad. The series Dérive, created in 2010, deals with the concepts of décor and artifice and shows the city as a scenographic space without use. Presented at Photo España, the Salon Jeune Création and Festival Itinéraires des Photographes Voyageurs, this work has also been exhibited in the gallery See Studio and the gallery Djeziri-bonn / Linard editions.

In 2013, Julien Lombardi participated in Art-o-rama, International Fair of Contemporary Art with his series Processing Landscape, which questions the making of images without references to reality. He completed this research in 2014 by exhibiting at the gallery Lhoste Art Contemporain in Arles, then at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Photographique in Niort in 2016.

Between 2012 and 2015, he began a project of documentary research in Armenia in the context of Hors Les Murs, the residency programme of the Institut Français. In this work, he explores the theme of the unfinished to deal with this young republic in the course of its formation. The series L’inachevé [Unfinished] was awarded the Marco Pesaresi Award in 2015, and then the Kaunas Photo Star Award and Prix Maison Blanche in 2016. It has been the subject of numerous publications (Spiegel Online, The Eyes #6, Il Post, Aint-bad Magazine, The Calvert Journal, Paper Journal) and was exhibited in 2016 at Festival Circulation(s), the Athens Photo Festival and Krakow Photomonth. In 2017, L’inachevé is to be published by Le Bec en l’Air editions.

His most recent work, EgoTour, analyses the impact of the tourism industry on our societies and our representations of elsewhere, by investigating the site of the Giza Pyramids. This work was exhibited for the first time at the gallery Lhoste Art Contemporain during the 2016 Rencontres d’Arles and is to be shown soon at Topographie de l’Art in Paris, alongside works by Joan Fontcuberta, Alain Fleischer, Laurent Millet and Eric Rondepierre.

JULIENLOMBARDI.COM

 

 

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