Absalom & Barsdsley ‘Paris Revisited’

Showed 28/01/10 – 30/01/10

Paris Revisited is a photographic project about the notion of experience. It stems from a day and night spent walking the streets of Paris. The route of the walk was shaped by intuition and the footsteps of those whose magnetism drew us along their path.

We explored the city in a new, intoxicating way that mentally and physically surpassed previous experiences of our surroundings. It was the essence of this experience, which we wanted to further explore and understand.

Extensive research on walking and Paris led us to Andre Breton’s novel Nadja. The book addressed the themes we were looking at, in a spirit that held true to our original experience. The protagonist, Breton, travels through Paris with Nadja, the woman who was at this point his muse. She becomes an embodiment of the city itself. The novel’s sequential narrative is interspersed with surreal accounts of dreams and wanderings.

This resource provided us with a second journey through the city which again extended beyond it’s usual physical limits, into something tangible yet unexplainable.

Returning to Paris for a third time, in search for a connecting link between the unique momentary experience of our initial visit, and the illusionary experience created by the book, we used photography to create a third, visual experience.

A photographic approach seemed appropriate as the medium falls between the fixity of words and the fleeting nature of the city.

The project at this stage consists of five parts, A variety of photographic strategies were used in what became an investigation into communicating the limits of experience. Relating to both the research and photography itself.

— Sam Bardsley & Ben Absalom 2010

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