»What the map cuts up, the story cuts across.«

Michel de Certeau: Spatial Stories

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Shooting Space 4: Destruction

The work of Mathieu Pernot

  • Châteauroux‚ 2 juin 2002 (All images: Mathieu Pernot) 1 / 7  Châteauroux‚ 2 juin 2002 (All images: Mathieu Pernot)
  • La courneuve‚ 8 juin 2000 2 / 7  La courneuve‚ 8 juin 2000
  • Mantes-la-jolie‚ 1 octobre 2000 3 / 7  Mantes-la-jolie‚ 1 octobre 2000
  • Mantes-la-jolie‚ 1er juillet 2001 4 / 7  Mantes-la-jolie‚ 1er juillet 2001
  • Meaux‚ 17 avril 2005 5 / 7  Meaux‚ 17 avril 2005
  • Meaux‚ 17 avril 2005 6 / 7  Meaux‚ 17 avril 2005
  • Meaux‚ 24 avril 2004 7 / 7  Meaux‚ 24 avril 2004

We fittingly end our four-part series previewing Elias Redstone’s book Shooting Space: Architecture in contemporary photography with his arresting selection of  “destruction” images by the French photographer Mathieu Pernot. You can experience the full spectrum of construction, inhabitation, decay and destruction (and everything in between) by entering the uncube draw to win a copy of the real thing - find out how below.

Week 4: Destruction
The work of Mathieu Pernot 

“When I took those photographs I wanted to express a moment of violence which is precisely a denial of a story. We want to make it disappear‚ violently, so as to wipe it off the map.”
-Mathieu Pernot 

Mathieu Pernot’s photographs of buildings imploding can be read as a universal representation of architectural failure. The spectacle of demolition is a potent symbol of the breaking down‚ not just of individual buildings‚ but also of an approach to architecture and urban planning that has failed society at large. But rather than analyzing global themes of architectural annihilation‚ Pernot’s images seek more specifically to examine the final moments of a particular phase of housing development in the French suburbs. Sites of large-scale urban development in the 1950s and 1960s‚ including Mantes-la-Jolie and Meaux on the outskirts of Paris‚ have, in the past two decades‚ had tower blocks torn down that were no longer considered habitable or fit for purpose. The state-sanctioned‚ controlled explosions that overwhelm the buildings in a cloud of smoke can be seen as eradicating histories and communities in the process. 

The Shooting Space competition draw has now closed.

Shooting Space: Architecture in Contemporary Photography

by Elias Redstone
Phaidon‚ September 2014.
€65.00‚ ISBN: 9780714867427



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