49 x 63 cm
Both day and night, this photographer tracks a parallel world of scraps that form rebus. In what he calls the “Fetishes of the street”, we can see a certain myopic pleasure for details, small corners and tiny spaces, a refusal of the monumental, in favour of the humble. Pierre Laniau is not looking to take inventory, just to collect the small pieces of little to no consequence, the moments that are quickly swept away by garbage collectors. Metaphysics can be found in this clepsydre-like work, connected to the ephemeral. The artist is not so much immersed in the method as he is in the magic of a brief encounter, the mixing of oil and water, all that appears random or irrelevant. We find in his work a taste for the short-circuit, André Breton’s “hazard objectif”. And this hazard or random incident is sometimes cruel, such as the image of a Louis XVI-style armchair abandoned in the street like an aristocrat turned vagrant. Pierre Laniau’s attention to degraded detail never veers toward cheap mannerism. If he aims the camera on his mobile phone at these ephemeral collisions, he is not looking to embellish them. Deliberately low quality, blurry and dirty, the style of the images mirrors closely their subjects. While technology works so hard to raise the status of the trivial, Pierre Laniau leaves the objects in their original rags. Instead of this fake nobility, he prefers the fragile poetry and dignity of the mendicant.
Extracts from a text by Roxana Azimi on the photographic work of Pierre Laniau.