Born from a human need that soon will be obsolete, the places photographed by Guillaume Lemarchal are the resonance of silence after agitation. The silent activity leaves the corpses of these contructs to nature. The landscape becomes memory and the photographer tells the tale of stories past.
Formerly deterrent barbed wires, deserted playgrounds, absurdly massive architectures compose the universe in which Guillaume Lemarchal transports us. There is obviously the time that has passed but there is especially the absence. The story is told without its protagonists. The framing emphasises those who live here no more. The malaise born from living without, leaves room for a certain plenitude resulting from a calm finally found.
When he was a painter, Guillaume Lemarchal made use of photography to prepare the canvas. He painted humans. Then photography was void of an existence and the human disappeared. The artist slowly let the obviousness nourish his projects and reveal the artwork.
When he leaves for northern Europe in search of History, Guillaume Lemarchal seeks the concrete left by the war and a time past. What he finds is close to the reason for his trip but it has been nourished by a poetry inspired by the white. Germany of the Baltic and Estonia provide him an ideal base of work. The cold, the ice, the light of the north and the absence of colors reveal the beauty which the artist suspected. Frozen water and petrified land give a dimension of fixity even more nostalgic and sometimes alarming. Nature mixes with the human play and accentuates his effect.
However, there is in the work of Guillaume Lemarchal a deep respect for the landscapes we destroy. His photographs are a cry for attention. It is this ambiguity that links a strange feeling of fascination to the monstrosity of these constructions; demolished and gaining in importance in the eyes and the heart of the spectator. Isolated, designed to be alone, they inspire some affection. Finally, they are just supports of bridges or buildings for defense from the occupation… Guillaume Lemarchal creates scenes to be played for the theatre of the memory. Imagination is mistress of what was, the photographer only fixes the decoration.
Last January 30th, the HSBC foundation for photography chose his work for the prize it awards annually. Selected from among the 650 cases in competition, his images held the attention of the executive committee. For Guillaume Lemarchal, this award is a recognition which reassures...