2018 - 2019
"The living are too well united with the living for me to accept closed borders."
From a poem by Oskar Wladyslaw De Lubicz Milosz
In this perilous journey to France, the exiles from Africa and the Middle East who have survived the sea and the desert, find themselves facing the mountains of the Alps, the natural border between France and Italy, guarded day and night by the French police.
Between Oulx (Italy) and Briançon (France), passing through Montgenèvre at an altitude of 1,854 metres, this invisible border is the last barrier before access to French soil and therefore to the asylum application. This territory has become a lawless zone. Many reports describe the failure of the police to respect the rights of migrants, who refuse to file asylum applications at the border and to shelter unaccompanied minors. Furthermore, citizens who try to rescue refugees in danger are pursued by the police. These national borders of Europe, which were opened with the Schengen agreements, are now impassable to exiles following the Dublin agreements and the adoption of a security policy by the European Union.
Every day and every night, men, women, children and unaccompanied minors try to cross the borders into France, regardless of the season, the risks involved or the police presence. Future asylum seekers do not have access to public transport to cross intra-European countries. This policy of non-reception at the French border is a factor of insecurity, exclusion, precariousness and endangerment of others for the refugees.
Through encounters in the places of reception, I followed the journey of these exiles in the mountainous landscapes they crossed and I recorded their testimonies with the aim of sharing their stories and humanising what politics calls "a migratory crisis". This project mixing landscapes, portraits and typographic embossed testimonies, deciphers a territory with an invisible wall, charged with a migratory past that resurfaced years after the Second World War. In some of the photographs, gold leaf gilding is used to hide or highlight an element, reminiscent of the official stamp on papers or the golden aspect of survival blankets, it can hide an identity to protect it or signify the loss of self for a new life.