Didier Marcel

Sans titre, 1999

It is by means of photography that Didier Marcel looks at the architectural forms which will potentially one day become maquettes, like those in the series Demolitions (1992), in which we see existing buildings, nearing a state of dilapidation, found in suburban landscapes (large sheds, factories…). In this photograph with tight framing, Didier Marcel focuses on one of the most typical features of the large buildings which, in the 1970s, displayed the signs of an “international” and functionalist modernity:  the façade. As a kind of tribute to a banal architecture, this photograph transforms the primary object by means of the violently oblique shot, through the close-up and the reduction of colours to black and white. Is this a photograph of a real building or a maquette?  Marcel sows confusion. Made up of repetitive elements, on scales which are at times difficult to assess, this “façade” appears to loom up from nowhere, without any connection with its context.  What is more, it no longer looks like a building’s façade:  its recesses turn into strictly aligned boxes and conjure up the cold and standardized compartmentalization of spaces in Jacques Tati’s Playtime. The form of the architecture disappears here, in favour of the photographic matter itself.

Nadine Labedade

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