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Compromised lands

 

Matthieu Gafsou is a Swiss photographer who lives and works in Lausanne. His pictures, which are of a documentary nature, question notions of space, territory, mankind and the human condition.

Gafsou’s latest work, Terres compromises (“Compromised lands”) is a series of forty-five shots from October 2010, during a one month journey through Jordan, the West Bank, and Israel. The son of a Jewish father, he was compelled by curiosity to visit these places with great historical importance. Gafsou was intrigued by the structures of Israeli cities, and decided to focus his work on this. Usually perched on hill or mountain sides, the buildings are mostly identical and closely packed. For Gafsou, the way space is used reflects a desire of domination, much like unreachable medieval fortresses. As a blast from the past, we find in some pictures the archeological site of Masada, the well-known and tragic Jewish fortress from antiquity.

The Terres compromises photographs capture moments that seem unpredictably serene. They mark a poetic break, a surreal “freezed frame”, from a land that itself is frozen by a seemingly endless conflict.

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