Un lion derrière la vitre, by Eric Le BrunPosted: February 1, 2015
The bronze sculpture of a lion’s head, probably coming from a sunken Greek or Phoenician ship, was found off the Calabrian coast, in southernmost Italy. Carbon dating is currently in progress (Libération, 21st August 2012). To me it sounded like a rendez-vous. To see the lion behind the window once more. Embraced.
This extract from the text page 34, opposite to the picture reproduced on the cover tells the complete story of the book. Reading those lines, I now, feel the same urgence to explore those traces… This is one of the particularity of the book which is made of an association of black and white photos with texts. The texts are not captions, but some short stories, which may have been lived by the author… or not, to accompany the photos or to resonate with them. That’s, in my opinion, the best guide ever to discover a city.
I have never wanted to go to Venice, but Eric’s work may have changed my opinion. I want to see « the lion behind the window », and this is what this book is about. A few references come instantly in mind : the journeys of painters in XIXth century (particularly the ones of Turner going through Europe and Venice), or the lions standing to face the cossacks on the stairs of a city close to another sea, Odessa, in Potemkine.
In his book, Eric has remarkably succeeded his evocation of what could be considered as a « cultural heritage ». The book is about the Mediterranean culture, about what the sea has built as a common heritage, through six historical cities which, in different times and different locations have all been very important in the construction of our civilization : Venice, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Sarajevo and Cordoba.
We walk through the cities, focus on a detail, are drawn by a form. There is no picturesque in the photographs, but this is neither an aimlessly collection of street photography. If you expect to find a view from Piazza San marco in Venice or the Blue Mosque in Istanbul you will be disappointed. On the opposite, you will discover the best part of those cities, the ones that remain hidden to the tourists groups in a hurry. You will stare for hours at a column, or an icon touched by light, you’ll pick up a stone on the floor or discover an abstract landscape through the window from the train.
After reading the book, I get the fantastic feeling of « knowing » the cities, and by knowing, I also mean the will to know more and more, to go again and again on those traces, maybe… to see the lion behind the window once more.
Oops ! I forgot to talk about something essential : the book comes with a CD inserted in the back cover. The disc becomes the original soundtrack of the journey. You can listen the 13 tracks while turning the pages and it will emphasize your own perceptions. You’ll be transported from a place to another, flying over the Mediterranean sea.
Hardcover book, beautifully crafted, 18 x 24 cm, 160 pages, 67 black and white photographs, texts and photos by Eric Le Brun, foreword by Anouar Benmalek, includes a CD with songs interpreted by Emmanuelle Bunel. All texts in French, English and, city by city, translated in the language of the country.
All images copyright Eric Le Brun and Editions Light Motiv.