The space in between by Christian Aschman
S.L_ You were talking about Prague earlier on, about the fact that you hadn’t been able to take pictures because everything was codified, too recognisable…
C.A_ Too visually uniform, too “historical”. I’d say I’m more into modernist constructions, really simple shapes, lines, structures, geometry, a kind of abstraction and of matter. When it’s too reassuring, too ornamented, too meticulous, too used, then it becomes a cliché, a postcard. Consequently, it becomes more difficult to decompose, because the elements are so recognisable that I can’t deconstruct them. Then, everything is related with the same spirit, nostalgic, anecdotal, “charming”, like Paris or the centre of Warsaw which was completely reconstructed on its former model. I didn’t spend more than two hours in the centre. Because I knew everything was fake, it reminded me of a fictionalised model.
S.L— When I watch your photographic production in metropoles and capitals of the world for almost twenty years, I can’t call it architecture photography, even though architecture photography is the substance or the matter of it. I also have the feeling that these simple forms which you’ve been photographing for a long time can’t run out, that in their simplicity, they open up a multiplicity of gazes in a temporal continuum.
C.A_ It’s a work on the gaze. When I arrive in a city, the first thing I look for are compositions, balances. Often, there is no photographic subject, no centre in my images. I see a frame with surfaces and volumes inside. I permanently centre. I see compositions in the most common things, a balance in the composition, like the distribution of colour for example. What inspires me the most is the architecture of the 1950 and 1970, which in a way makes things easier for me because these are the elements with which I can best construct.
Conversation between Christian Aschman and Stéphane Léger