Philippe Bazin

Vues imprenables

4 April - 17 May 2003

We wanted someone to offer us a new photographic image of the city of Lille, a new 'portrait'. We felt it would be wise to offer a commission of this kind not to a professional post card photographer, but to an artist known for his work on the human face.

Philippe Bazin's answer is based on a very simple idea : photographing the city of Lille from the windows of the offices of the prominent people who exercise the main responsibilities in the city.

"Thus it is a question of showing a city as it can be seen by a mayor, a bank manager or a judge, etc. In this way views of a city apprehended according to unknown points of view, and yet very close to us, are revealed. The townscape seen, demonstrating this proximity, refers back to Lorenzetti's intention in the fresco of Good and bad government, in Siena. It also represents a certain distance, a stance, those adopted by Nicéphore Niepce, in the very first photograph ever taken, from the window at Le Gras. Finally, this townscape symbolises our imaginery projections as they were shown by John Ford, for example, in The Prisoner of the desert.

So it is a thoughtful, anthropological landscape, charged with references, that is expressed by its political, social and ultimately universal context."

Philippe Bazin