What does reality look like when it is photographed from its own perimeter, in the uncanny zone between certainty, objectivity and dreams, where an idealised version of the world has infiltrated? Sébastien Cuvelier’s photography may well provide the answer.
In his images, what is real always seems larger than it actually is. The photographs appear to have passed through a fantasy filter, to be projected from a dimension where other rules apply. The sensation is similar to the one felt in the twilight zone between wakefulness and sleep, when ambiguous landscapes are crossed in what is not quite a dream.
It is not unusual to feel a little uncomfortable when looking at his photographs. To have the sense that one is intruding on someone else’s secret, imaginary territory. Perhaps it’s because the people, places and objects are made unfamiliar by certain details, yet seem a part of daily life. A superficial mundanity, one filled with residential blocks, interiors decorated with ostentatious luxury, ordinary streets and gardens. And yet, our usual references are rendered obsolete.
The colours, the blurring, the inconsistencies: everything conspires to make us doubt that these photographs portray what really exists. Sébastien Cuvelier appears to have found the way to an observation room that provides a mysterious and disturbing view of the human desire to become a utopian incarnation of itself.
- Text by Philippe Marczewski (.TIFF)