François-Xavier Gbré, Untitled, Tracks Series (2010)

It appears there was a steel fence preventing access to the rubble. But the barrier has been pulled away and we can now see what perches at the top of the steps: chaos on an epic scale.

This is an inversion of the expected order, which puts chaos below and clouds and serenity above. It now looks like disorder awaits no matter how much you strive and climb.

Which of course is pretty much true. Bodies collapse just like buildings. Plans go awry. And after the moment of death, if it is a single moment, things get really out of hand.

These steps were here before us. Our path has been mapped out in some planner’s office, in which social dreams were pitted against economic realities and clearly fared the worse.

Look down and you will see they are already littered with hints of what is to come. And that nature has been quick to welcome the demolition of this contingent living arrangement.

Grey colours the entire scene, which speaks perhaps of bureaucracy and the vague future which, in non metaphorical terms, surely hangs over this neighbourhood of Lyon.

For now, it is a lost city in ruins. No wonder the authorities here were keen to conceal it.

Several works by François-Xavier Gbré can be seen in Uprooting the Gaze: Foreign Places Familiar Patterns at The Old Co-op Building, Brighton, as part of Brighton Photo Fringe, until November 14. See Photo Fringe website for more details.
NB: the glare on this image is not in the original and is the result of me trying to photograph it, badly!

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