Julien Lombardi

His staging of the ordinary creates a simulacrum, and the neutral elements of our daily lives take on new meanings. No matter where they are captured, his images are enigmatic documents that gradually give rise to a sense of uncertainty. His interests in photography shift from one series to the other. Every time I start a new work he develop a different framework specifically for that new project. Themes like territory, identity, memory and the organization of space are always present in his work. he use photography as a tool to probe what isn’t visible or is about to vanish.

His series are regularly exhibited in Festivals like Circulation(s), Athens Photo Festival or Medphoto in Greece. He also work with galleries, art centers and art shows. His work is part of collections such as BNF and Chateau d’Eau in particular. His work has received honors including the Bourse du Talent, the Marco Pesaresi Award 2015 and was finalist of the HSBC Prize for Photography 2016.

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The Unfinished

During my first visit to Armenia in 2012, I discovered the complexities of a young nation in the midst of a building process. Armenia gained its independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, ushering in a period of chaos. Its first decade as a sovereign state was a trying time plagued by war, shortages, a lacklustre economy and a massive exodus. The country’s geographical location has limited its ability to establish a political model. Armenia is a small, landlocked nation that has contentious diplomatic relations with certain neighbours. All these factors contribute to its isolation, leaving us confronted with the reality of a society that is evolving on the fringes, according to its own rules and concept of time. This situation has undeniably carried over into the visual realm – contemporary Armenia lies outside the camera’s lens. Documents illustrating the development of this young republic are non-existent and there is a stunning lack of images, which are either absent or hidden. In terms of visual representation, the country truly is a “blank print”. The transition has become a space in its own right. The landscape is dotted with fragments of different eras, which coexist in an odd manner. It’s an environment in which everything keeps moving, but nothing definitive ever occurs. How is it possible to document a nation in a state of flux? To bear witness to a memory that has yet to be completely formed? These challenges lay bare the limits of a visual investigation and raise questions about the ability of the photographic medium to capture an elusive present. My approach therefore aims to create supports for a future memory; I collect fragments of spaces liable to become the backdrop for actions yet to come. The photographic process is reflexive; the sites selected all have the potential to serve as a stage. I took aesthetic cues from documentary photography to produce mock archives that could provide the setting for a story. The series of images resulting from this approach constitutes a set of fictitious documents whose content remains a possibility to be realized. The photos are awaiting development, just like the country that inspired them. One means by which the project is being presented is through the donation of a substantial number of photos to the National Archives of Armenia. In so doing, these fictitious documents will truly become repositories for a memory.

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To view more of their work please visit their website.



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