Magazine article Artforum International

Patrick Faigenbaum. (Reviews: Paris)

Magazine article Artforum International

Patrick Faigenbaum. (Reviews: Paris)

Article excerpt

GALERIE DE FRANCE

Since 1999, guided by the historian Joan Roca, Patrick Faigenbaum has been photographing the outskirts of Barcelona, particularly Besos, a waterfront neighborhood of mixed ethnicity that is in the midst of transition. From this methodical survey of the terrain come urban tableaux that sketch quasi-documentary descriptions of the area and its inhabitants--their habits (shopping at the market, the promenade at the end of the day), their gathering places (the cafe, the restaurant), and an endless number of unfinished narratives.

As exhibited here, color images alternate with black-and-white, exterior scenes with interiors, posed portraits with candid shots, group portraits with individuals, wider views overlooking the city with close-ups. Each image has its own format (stretched out in panoramas for views, compressed in squares for individual portraits), its own atmosphere, and its own rhythm. Hence, the visitor's impression, at first, is of a rambling stroll without any imposed order that is nevertheless marked out by a certain cadence, articulated by an overall agenda, an experience of urban space and time. Thus, the smallest works are grouped in a way that translates the fluttering excitement and the deterioration of the city, as well as the links that traverse and structure it: A family sitting outside a cafe, two children playing together, and two others watching a soccer player are so many moments experienced in common, in or rather with the city, which is present as stage or even as a character. …

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