Beyond the Border
Since 2009, when he wasn’t out covering current events, Mathias Depardon traveled the roads of Europe, from the north of France to the west of Greece, following Afghan immigrants on their path to freedom. Chance encounters guide this modest documentary, filled with photographs lit by campfires. This darkness is not a metaphor for their condition, condemned to cross impassable borders again and again, hoping to one day reach the new El Dorado of Europe, in the North.
The predominance of night visually unites the different places, making the project a non-factual investigation. There are no billboards or other signs to indicate the location or geography. License plates, products and newspapers are mostly illegible. Shunning a journalist approach to their plight, the photographs aren’t sordid but still show the difficult reality of the situation where hopes are dashed by lynchings and repeated arrests.
The night sets the subjects apart from their environment without stigmatizing them, dissociating them from the iconic torn shoes and dirty clothes. Although Depardon employs symbols, they refer to travel, asphalt and railroad tracks leading to a promised land. With light and shadows masking both landscape and the subjects’ faces, these images seem to document the physical and psychological territories of immigration.
Au-delà des frontières : photographs by Mathias Depardon
Exposition jusqu’au 10 mars 2013
Institut Français d’Istanbul
İstiklal Caddesi No: 4 Taksim, Beyoğlu
Istanbul - Turkey
January 30, 2013 : "Being a foreigner in Istanbul", animated by Didem Danis (Galatasaray University), with Enzo Ikah (Congolese musician) and Reza Hajizade.
February 15, 2013 : "Immigration policies", a conversation with Didem Danis, Catherine Wihtol de Wenden (CNRS researcher) and Pr. Sema Erder.