59 km

"The distance from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is only 59km. But impeding this geographical proximity with obstacles, walls, controls, history and even the landscape's aridity is unnecessary.

In a series bearing the same name, Gaël Bonnefon stages another distance. The photographs melt into shades of blue which shroud objects and characters to different degrees. The greenish color of the Christ of Grünewald's skin testifies that he is close to decay. The religious in motion freeze into hard severity, as if the concentration of their poise or gait had ripped them out of this world and sent them not into the beyond but to a place out of frame which is unattainable, despite it's closeness. The religious men of Jerusalem are sure-stepped, closed faced, mindful and out of themselves in their neutral mourning habit. Their mourning for the world, their solitude in the deserted streets, contrast with the assuredness of their advancement and the always receding perspective of the walls. As background and scenery, the wall grips the character in a muted game, fixes him in the steady criss cross of it's erratic blocks. Everything in them seems to submit to the dictatorship of straight lines, vertical order, step and footstep prevail. At regular intervals, the walls return, just as the blocks of limestone dot the dry hillsides along the 59km stretch between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Not a word is uttered. People and objects are silent, as if they had left this world or as if they themselves had been left to wander in search of some unknown and ungiven unattainable something of which they only glimpse the inexistent. The torrid nights, the sensual pleasures, the adverts are all shallow promises. The white teeth and exaggerated mouth of a coyly beauty-marked face betray the aging of a painting perverted by time : a smile turns a blue-green, like washed out color. Here even the present is absent, everything is but the apparition of fantasized shapes, that suddenly appear out of darkness, threateningly drunk and desire-full, an obsessive elsewhere.

Gaël Bonnefon's pictures are harsh, heavy. Heavy from the worry they distill through to the slightest details. And ambiguous from the shady treatment of a verdigris world that oscillates between wandering underworlds and the severity of religious gesture. They do not select, but exist side by side as a series, a throbbing loop that explores the ambiguity of their combination, reflecting the two-sided isolation of being thrown into the world at the same time as being neglected.The approach in these photographs, their ranked and shifting light, the recurring violence in the lighting bestow on these scenes the power of fascination for the void. Once a ship sails, writes Nietzsche , it is left to its own device out at sea, albeit the temptation of the abyss it cannot turn back as return is impossible. Between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, Bonnefon has restrained himself from pointing out the details of the conflict, thus refusing a visual need that would conceal any concern. He entrusts these images of a destabilized world unto the chaos, the uncertainty, and the excess of a perilous chasm".
Michel Métayer
Translated by Matilda Holloway

Melancholia of crépuscule
Sébastien Porte (Télérama n°3163)

Entre les gens
Paul de Sorbier (exhibition text, Maison Salvan)

Elegy for the mundane
Mickaël Soyez (catalogue, Château d'eau)

Une poétique de l'accident
L'intervalle (Entretien par Fabien Ribery)

About decline
(Exhibition text / Château d'eau gallery)

Temps Zéro
Mina Lenvka (website)

Elle est où la baballe?
Olivier Michelon (catalogue, Afiac 2013)

Les herbes fauves
Arnaud Fourrier (catalogue, Afiac 2013)

About decline - fragments -
François Saint-Pierre (Notice, Abattoirs Museum collection)

59 km
Michel Métayer (Cheminements 2011)

L'entraînement
David Chaignon

About decline
Marine Eric (Jeune création exhibition, Le Centquatre)