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Le temps Suspendu

from Tuesday, November 10, 2015 to Sunday, January 17, 2016
« Qatar has been one of my places of residence. The country is buzzing, travelling towards the future at a dizzying pace. Doha is the beating heart of the nation. The future is already in the present, while at the same time the past is merely clinging on.

My work on Le temps suspendu questions about these lost tracks and conceptualizes memorial sites. My idea is to capture the memory of something doomed to disappear or which has never really existed, namely the memory of a country with very powerful traditions but which, strangely, struggles to preserve its past, preferring instead to reconstruct a past out of elements of the new. I therefore went in search of this lost time with a feeling of emptiness and abandonment. I call upon memory and imagination through the romantic accents of the landscape. Ruins, stones, fragments, the desert, water, timeless characters. A certain melancholy is expressed in my images, as if I wanted to monumentalize these subjects promised to oblivion in the face of a vertiginous consumer society.

The use of a Lomography camera determined a major part of the project’s aesthetic.
“Lomography” is a fashionable movement based on the concept of constructing new cameras – using silver print films – from old, cheap models from the ex-Soviet Bloc. Here, I take the opposite approach to the supra-perfection of digital photography. The images are raw, poorly framed, out-of-focus, grainy and have a black circle in the corner. The camera has very few settings, but leaves substantial room for manoeuvre in terms of exposure times and advancing the film, done entirely manually, making it possible to explore areas beyond the range of basic contemporary cameras … I use deteriorated film, the chemical make-up of which is altered.Every print developed has a surprise in store. Perfection gives way to reality, to error. Emotion takes precedence over the ordered world. I regard the images produced as in some way archaeological, reminiscent of those of the earliest photographs, for example daguerreotypes. But it is not in the marketing slogan, “capturing life as it is” that I find my inspiration. On the contrary, obeying traditional photographic rules such as the composition and balance of the image is, for me essential in terms of achieving a truly creative work. »

Maher Attar