Robert Polidori: “The Walls Remember”

Nelida Nassar  01.08.2014

Galerie Karsten Greve, Paris, Koln and St Moritz presents in its Paris showroom the work
of Canadian photographer Robert Polidori who strives to document inhabited places. Polidori’s images keep record of the marks left by tragedy and of urban architecture. The number of photographs exhibited and the large formats Polidori began producing at the end of the 1980’s, make it possible to fully understand his
work and his fascination with the notion of  time and the traces that it leaves around us.

Among the photographs exhibited at Galerie Karsten Paris are images from 2011 of Pripyat, Ukraine. In particular of a nursery from that city  located ten kilometers north of Chernobyl , in the 30 km exclusion zone area placed around the plant following the nuclear disaster of 1986  that has since become a ghost town.

Other photographs document houses interiors in New Orleans, USA that were struck down by the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Others record the Versailles Palace Halls renovations in 2008 from the  “South Crimea Room” to paintings awaiting to be hanged up on the walls. Images of Varanasi, India dating from 2007 are also part of the show.

The architecture photographed by Polidori, evokes melancholy regardless of whether it is majestic or in decline. It speaks of those who have inhabited these bare rooms and spaces. The past returns ceaselessly, called into question by a detail, a composition or a perspective. Whether it is at the Château de Versailles, where the artist was granted special permission to photograph the renovations under Jean-Jacques Aillagon’s mandate, the ghost cities leveled by Hurricane Katrina or the houses of Pripyat not far from Chernobyl, what has been lived in these places returns to the surface and plunges the observer in a tale that is both personal and full of history. The result is a genuine interior portrait that becomes a metaphor for intimacy: this ode to architecture, to
its vaults, stairways and geometry becomes a pretext for unveiling the skeletons of
the soul.

The exhibition Robert Polidori: “The Memory of the Walls” continues until
January 18, 2014 at Galerie Karsten Greve, 5 Debelleyme Street, 75003  Paris

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