URBAN SPRAWL-EMPTINESS - PhMuseum

URBAN SPRAWL-EMPTINESS

Emmanuel Monzon

2016 - 2018

Artist Statement

Through my urban sprawl series, I want to photograph the in-between state found in the American landscape. So I capture places of transition, borders, passages from one world to another: am I leaving a city or entering a new environment?

In my artwork there is no judgment, no denunciation, only the picture itself. If I could sum up the common theme of my photos, it would be about emptiness, about silence. My pictures try to extract from the mundane urban landscape a form of estheticism. Where most people only pass through, I stop and look for some form of poetic beauty. I like repetition, I like series, and I like driving around.

Press Release

The work of Emmanuel Monzon focuses primarily on the idea of urban sprawling and the expansion of its periphery. Monzon photographs banality as though it were a Romantic painting, trying only to be “stronger than this big nothing” in controlling the space by framing the subject. His aesthetic of the banal obeys its own rules : a ban on living objects , a precise geometrical organization , and the revelation of a specific physical and mental landscape blurring the lines between city and suburb, between suburb and countryside, a process that results in an independent identity. Monzon thematically consistent work highlights things that make their surroundings appear quite empty and soulless. An unnerving set of social observations. Yet the tenderness of his colouring softens the quite harsh social comment his images tend to deliver. There is an absolute stillness in the images : nothing moves, not even time. Monzon grasps what is simple, and that is difficult.

Emptiness, absence, lack of a meaningful world : subjects are not inherently expressive yet they convey a deep sense of grief over the loss of meaning. Time has come to a stop. The absence of shadows and the pinkish grey mist often give a strong and disturbing impression of dream. Does these places really exist ? The reflection redeems and heals the wounds a mindless world inflicts on reality, and transforms an unstructured and empty present into a bearable memory.

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