KAUNAS PHOTO 2015 » Pierre Folk

Pierre Folk “By the silent line”

© Pierre Folk

© Pierre Folk “By the silent line”

Mankind has influence on its own territory in many ways. As by-products of urban transformations, residual spaces can be found in the interstices of our habitat. This body of work relies on the observation that lost urban territories become a catalyst for the pursuit of freedom and happiness. They represent the idea of an alternative, an escape within the city: a utopia. To explore these notions, By the silent line focuses on a metropolitan scar carrying history: la Petite Ceinture.

La Petite Ceinture is a dormant railroad track, a 32 km path surrounding Paris. During the 19th century, as population kept on increasing, new infrastructures were built to produce more, faster and at a lower cost. La petite Ceinture was one of these and its construction, seen as an invitation to progress, was decided in 1852. However, its operation wouldn’t survive the automobile revolution. Indeed, if different sections have been exploited for freight carrying until the early 90’s, on some of its course la Petite Ceinture has produced nothing but silence since the 30’s. As a river, its shores constantly change over time, but it persists. Grasses, flowers and small trees sprout from its bed. The vestige has become a boundary on the fringe of society. An intimate place, where past and modernity make their acquaintance and ultimately, where Parisians find a peaceful escape from the city, wandering by the silent line.

At last, la Petite Ceinture is likely to be reclaimed. A handful of lagging projects envisage partial conversion into dancing clubs, restaurants, public transportation or linear parks.  As it is time for farewell, this long-term project is a way of maintaining the memory of a landmark and giving thought to our ability to pursue freedom.

Pierre Folk born 1986, in eastern France. His works explore human society, with a particular emphasis on man’s conflicting relationships with his environment and his struggle to cohabit with contemporaries. Without defending a Manichean view, this research takes form of visual narratives but is not of a documentary nature. If a photography series naturally becomes a document, Folk’s intention focuses more on perception and the way these places are a reflection of ourselves. His latest series is a poetic illustration of how mankind transforms its own habitat, of how urban environment and nature sometimes co-exist, drifting together through time. To fit his artistic approach, all pictures are made through large format photography using a view camera and colour negatives. Seeing the world through the ground glass is a meditative experience, demonstrating much similarity with painting. Therefore, such meticulous proceeding gives him the distance he needs from the subject to investigate every composition. It is also an aesthetic choice as the medium presents interesting descriptive ability.

Pierre Folk exhibition “By the silent line” opening at “Meno parkas” gallery (Rotušė sq. 27) September 3, 6:00 p.m. Exhibition will be on display till September 19.
Open: II – V 12:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.; VI 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.