Claudine Doury, exhibition organised by the town of Bièvres

Claudine Doury is a French photographer, member of the Vu agency, whose work is shown at the In Camera Gallery in Paris. In her work, she explores the concepts of memory, transition and passage. Adolescence and travel are the central themes of her work. She has published six monographic works: “Love”,2019, “The New Man”, 2016, “Sasha”, 2011, “Loulan Beauty”, 2007, “Artek, a summer in Crimea”, 2004 and “Peoples of Siberia”, 1999. She has participated in a large number of individual and group exhibitions in France and abroad. She has been awarded numerous prizes, including the Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière-Académie des Beaux Arts Award in 2017, the Nièpce Prize for lifetime achievement in 2004, the Leica Oscar Barnack Award and a World Press Award.

The two series she will be showing at the Fair are “Loulan Beauty” and “Sasha”.

About the first, she has said, “It’s the story of a slow disappearance in the sands of time, the end of a world, a voyage through post-Soviet central Asia and Chinese Xinjiang. I had read “Djamila” by the Kirghiz poet Tchinguiz Aïtmatov, and I was dreaming of kolkhozes lost in the immensity of the steppes, and of the peoples: Uzbeks, Kazakhs, Kirghiz, Karakalpaks…. From 2002 to 2005 I was able to travel to the Aral region of Kazakhstan, to Uzbekistan, to Xinjiang and to the banks of the Issyk Kul in Kyrgyzstan. “Loulan Beauty” is a tribute to these inhabitants of the middle of the world, heirs to lost kingdoms, fishermen without a sea, children who dance in order to bring back their parents who have gone far away looking for work, to Lola who dreams of America, to men who listen to the songs of the sands, to young girls with a thousand braids, the same braids that were worn by Loulan, their ancestor from 4000 years ago.”

As for “Sasha”, “Sasha, who was a little girl, has grown up. She has become a young woman who searches for herself in the mirror and in the land which was once her mother’s. A land of forest, magic and images; a land where you can invent fairytales and illusions, encounter elves and cover your changing body with mud, turning it into an instant, ephemeral statue from which a new person will emerge. An aquatic world as well, as if prefiguring the rebirth of a being as pure as the white gowns of yesterday’s fairy tales. Where you can walk on water, or at least have the illusion of it, as when you were young and dreamed of flying. You could arise from out of the water, together with your best friend, your twin, with green algae in your hair, having become, briefly, people without identity in a world without tarnish. As is often the case, we feel that everything that happens is taking place on the inside, that it’s indescribable. You con play, somewhere between dream and nightmare, at burying yourself in an endless field of grass and emerging as a different person who stops to observe, very seriously, a race between slugs, although they’re not really racing… Then one day, your blonde braid will be cut off and you will keep it as a photograph keeps the image of a face in a mirror. Your face? Another face?

A time of doubt. None of that would have been possible were it not for the light and hazy colours which surround it all in a cameo of greens and browns. Because these images are accepted as such by the eye, but beneath the apparently calm, uninterrupted surface lies a turmoil of contradictory feelings betrayed by a tenseness and an indisputable beauty … An alliance of mystery, magic, indescribable time and often poisonous beauty which create a suspended world.”

The exhibition will be held from May 31 to June 2 at the Grange aux fraises, 3 rue de Paris in Bièvres and at the Maison des photographes et de l’image, rue de la Terrasse.

Opening hours: Friday May 31, Saturday June 1 and Sunday June 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a break from 1 to 2 p.m.