Romain Jacquet Lagrèze | City Poetry 城市詩意
exhibited at Blue Lotus Gallery
8 Jun - 14 July, 2019
for exhibition details click here.
City Poetry 城市詩意 is Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze’s most personal project to date, a photographic exercise that shows the artist further deepening his roots in Hong Kong and Cantonese culture. Jacquet-Lagrèze set himself the task of documenting visually striking street signs and took them home where his wife would help to translate, slowly enabling him to decipher the characters that adorn this city’s streets. As his archive grew so did his knowledge, forming sentences with photographs of individual characters results in poems that are both visual and linguistic.
"What makes particular signs truly unique are the markings they bare being witness to the passing time: the peeling paint, the rusted metal, lost tiles or broken neons. Men designed them to be informative and attractive, I think the erosion transforms them into something more, something deeper. The marks of decay add another layer of meaning to the characters; no longer just names on wall, they become poetry of time. It helps us to dwell poetically in the urban landscape where we live and to have a daily touch with the spiritual.” –Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, 2019
"Traditional Chinese characters is one of man's historical languages still in use, we are so lucky to be surrounded visually by this ancient text in such a hyper-modern city. The signs are genuine works of art, combining the techniques by man, time and the elements. I decided to capture this with my camera. As I am fascinated with the artform of Chinese calligraphy, I had the idea of combining different characters together in order to create poems, to build meaning by collaging characters photographed in different places and made using various materials.” Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze, 2019
The exhibition features about 30 works including some pieces from his previous projects; Wild Concrete, Concrete Stories and Blue Moment. There will be an artist talk and calligraphy worksop with Master Ho during this exhibition (please refer to our website). Books by the artist will be available during the exhibition.
「城市詩意」是Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze 最新的個人企劃，今輯攝影系列印證了這位法籍攝影師對於香港及其語言文化的熱愛再度昇華。Jacquet-Lagrèze以攝影紀錄街上各種充滿視覺 魅力的招牌，帶回家中讓太太協助翻譯，漸漸地，他學會解讀滿佈大街小巷的文字密碼。他儲下了大批這樣的文字照片，中文知識亦隨之加深。他更運用這些文字照片拼砌成有「詩意」的句子，巧妙地集合「視覺」與「語文」於一身。
Watch the trailer here:
Concrete stories is a collection of genuine instants from the daily life of Hong Kong's inhabitants, more particularly of people from the older districts of Kowloon. This peninsula has a population of over 2 millions people and a density of 43,000/km2, which might make it the densest urban area in the world. The vernacular culture of people living in such an extremely urbanized environment can be discovered through all these small stories that are forming a bigger one, a record of how people make use of available rooftops in a cramped city where each square feet can be sold at stratospheric prices. It is a testimony of the lifestyle of people living inside the oldest buildings of the city featuring an easy access to the rooftop that is often used by inhabitants from the whole buildings, like a courtyard in the air. Nowadays, these buildings are disappearing at a fast pace given the scarcity of lands which forces the authority to pull down all the low-rise buildings in order to leave space to taller and more modern residential ones. Most of these new buildings are made with luxury finishing making it totally unaffordable for humble people to live inside. This way, the once popular districts of the city are being emptied of its grass roots forced to go live in the outskirt of the city. All photographs are using an extreme vertical format in order to strengthen the feeling of cramped-ness that is felt in these places.
2018-04 | Design Boom: 'romain jacquet-lagrèze captures hong kong’s rooftops in new photo series'
2018-04 | PHOTOBLOG HK: '法國攝影師 Romain JL 鏡頭下的香港天台光與影'
2018-04 | Fast Co Design: 'The Secret Life Of Hong Kong’s Communal Rooftops'
2018-04 | Format Magazine: 'The Hidden World of Hong Kong’s Rooftops'
2018-04 | SCMP: "Small Stories, Big Picture"
2018-01 | Photography is Art: 'The Concrete Stories'
The Blue Moment
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright —
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
Excerpt from “The Walrus and the Carpenter
by Lewis Caroll (author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’)
According to art world legends this poem inspired surrealist Rene Magritte for the making of one of his most famous paintings: ‘Empire of the light’. This masterpiece depicts the paradoxical image of a nighttime street, lit only by a single street light, beneath a daytime sky. As per Magritte: “This evocation of night and day seems to me to have the power to surprise and delight us. I call this power: poetry". The painting is almost monochromatic, showing only blue, white, black, and yellow/gold. In theme and color scheme it’s not unlike Romain’s series: ‘The Blue Moment’.
Yet Romain’s work is real; documenting that split moment at summer’s dusk when the city turns blue. Over two summers the artist scouted elevated vantage points with a large format camera. No filter or heavy photoshopping has been applied.
As per the artist: 'For me, photography is a way to cast fleeting moments in still images. Moments and places don’t last, they disappear in time. One particular day I was shooting the city at sunset, bright light washed out most of the colours, you could feel the heat through the images. I decided to stay a little longer to watch the sun going down and the city lighting up. I witnessed how just for few minutes the city was enveloped in a deep blue haze. The blueness projected itself ferociously onto the buildings that looked colourless just a little while before. I was deeply impressed. The only way to eternalise this ephemeral moment was with my camera.’
The surreal character of his blue-laced imagery is enhanced by the composition: structures and nature are framed as they were cut up and put together. The density of the city is mirrored by nature that’s as intense.
Hong Kong’s photogenic character attracts many photographers. Capturing it in a new original way is becoming increasingly challenging. With his oeuvre ‘the Blue Moment’ he again documented this city in an unprecedented and unexpected way. Romain JL indeed has secured his position as one of Hong Kong’s most exciting young photographers, one that’s here to stay.
然而Romain的作品是十分真實；它記錄了夏天黃昏時份城市染藍的分裂一刻。 Romain花了兩個夏天，帶著一台大片幅相機探索不同位於高處的觀景點。 整個系列沒有應用後製濾鏡或大量的照片編輯。
「萬物變幻不息，⽽攝影就是把它凝結成圖像的方法。瞬間時光從不為誰停留，任何地點與⼈物亦會在不知不覺間驟然消失。某⽇⿈昏時分，我在市區拍照，順道欣賞⽇落景色。⽇落後的天空漸漸染上更深的藍，與此同時，路上的街燈與家家⼾戶的點燈光逐一亮起。看到整個城市被藍光包圍的一剎那，印象非常深刻，我趕緊拍下來。 這⽚極其短暫的藍彩，只有在難得的⼀瞬間才能遇見。⼀片鮮明的藍染在本來平平無奇的樓宇外牆上，輕輕的來，輕輕的走。它總是稍縱即逝，又愛逃避閃躲。能抓住它的唯一方法， 就是攝影。」Romain說道。
Romain這系列的藍調影像，將建築和大自然元素分割同時又結合起來，其構圖的美學增強當中的超現實感，城市的密度在大自然的襯托下變得更強烈。引人入勝的香港風景吸引了許多攝影師，然而尋找新的原創方式去捕捉香港，卻變得愈來愈具有挑戰性。 Romain憑藉他的作品《藍色時分》，再次以前所未有的驚艷方式記錄這座城市。 作為一名法藉居港攝影師，Romain成功確立了他作為香港最令人興奮的年輕攝影師之一的地位。
All prints listed above are for sale as limited editions. Please contact Sarah Greene on email@example.com if you wish to receive more information.
PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE as archival pigment prints on metallic pearl paper, mounted on di-bond,
with UV protective acrylic face-mount in an edition of 9 in each size, signed and dated by artist in back.
For further inquiries, please contact us.
Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze is a French graphic artist with a Masters in multimedia and art from East Paris University. His interest in photography began during his period of working in Los Angeles and Tokyo, and subsequently blossomed into a passion after his arrival in Hong Kong.
Stunned by its architectural "race to the sky" he felt the need to use his camera to share his feelings about the city. The geometry of the urban environment and the vivid lives it shelters are the aspects of Hong Kong that inspire him most.
The name Vertical Horizon is an obvious reminder of our competitive Hong Kong skyline where each building is trying to be the tallest, the boldest, the most beautiful, the youngest, the oldest or the most famous. The city is a metaphor of how we grow as a person. We are ambitious and reach for the sky but our lives are like buildings; we start at ground level and need a strong foundation in order to succeed.
Romains work has received attention from both local and international press such as SCMP (HK), Herald Tribune (US), National Geographic, Lonely Planet (HK), El Pais (Spain), Figaro (France), Huffinton Post (US), The Guardian (UK), Stern (Germany) and many more….
All prints listed above are for sale as limited editions. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to receive more information regards prices, sizes etc.
PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE as beautiful archival pigment prints on metallic pearl paper, mounted on di-bond, with acrylic face-mount, signed and dated by artist in back.
For further inquiries, please contact us.
Wild Concrete is a series about resilience of nature in an urban environment. No matter how clever we are at dominating our environment with concrete structures, nature somehow finds its way to fight back. Romain’s images of sprouting flowers and maturing trees on unlikely places demonstrates how our concrete jungle eventually would have to give in to the force of nature, the day we let go.
PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE as archival pigment prints.
For further inquiries, please contact us.
2017-2 | LIFEFRAMER - 'Urban Life'
2016-12 | GIZMODO: 'My Favorite Time of the Day Is When the Entire City Turns Blue'
2016-12 | PHOTOBLOG HK: '攝影師 Romain Jacquet Lagreze 鏡頭下的藍調香港「The Blue Moment」'
2016-12 | Daily News Agency (Japan): '夕暮れ時の一瞬に青く染まった香港の神秘的な街並みを撮影した写真集「The Blue Moment」
2016-9 | THE CULTURE TRIP: 'Hong Kong’s ‘Blue Moment’: An Interview With Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze'
2016-9 | NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC
2016-9 | IT POST ITALY
2016-8 | ZOOM - Artist Review
2016-5 | KNACK: 'Beeld van de week'
2016-5 | FREE PRESS: 'Hong Kong’s ‘Blue Moment’ by photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze'
2016-5 | BORED PANDA: 'The Blue Moment: I Photograph The Atmosphere Of Hong Kong During Last Minutes Of Dusk'
2016-5 | CITYLAB: 'Capturing Hong Kong in the 'Blue Moment'
2016-5 | ZOLIMA CITY: 'THE BLUE MOMENT: ROMAIN JACQUET-LAGRÈZE’S ETHEREAL HONG KONG'
2016-5 | APPLE DAILY
2016-3 | COCONUTS HONG KONG: 'French photographer catches Hong Kong at summer's dusk in 'The Blue Moment' solo exhibition'
2016-3 | CREATIVE BOOM: 'The Blue Moment: Capturing the transition from day to night in Hong Kong's industrial heart'
2015-12 | TRAVELBOOK (GERMANY): 'SO HABEN SIE HOCHHÄUSER NOCH NIE GESEHEN!'
2015-11 | LUXOS MAGAZINE, (COVER)
2015-8 | Digital Photo, Denmark: 'Nyt Perspektive'
2015-7 | Sing Tao Newspaper
2015-4 | Reader's Digest: 'Look Twice'
2015-3 | Silver Kris Magazine, Hong Kong
2015-1 | The Optimist - Wild Concrete on The Optimist, Winter 2015 (Netherlands)
2014-11 | DIVO Magazine (Italy) | Ponto De Fuga
2014-11 World Photography Organization, 'Hong Kong in Focus'
2014-8 | DIE WELT (GERMANY) |
2014-8 U Magazine, 'Wild Concrete'
2014-7 | CO.DESIGN | 'These photos of Hong Kong Skyscrapers will make you very dizzy'
2014-6 | PARIS MATCH (FRANCE) | 'En Image: Le Hong Kong Vertical de Romain Jacquet-Lagreze'
2014-3 | SCMP | 'Life in a concrete jungle'
2013-11 | Lonely Planet 'High Kong'
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