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Graffiti Tale by Hubert Barre. © Hubert Barre.1 / 2

Hubert Barre: light, walls and graffiti

Hubert Barre who we met during one of the portfolio reading days at the Cour de l'Archêveché of Arles, in the context of the Voies Off 2016. A man of reserved ways, he presented his work to us with simplicity and a calm enthusiasm, free from any form of conceit. As part of the event he exhibited two projects carried out over several years. Actually the only thing they have in common, apart from their paternity, is only the long-term planning, since they are very different from each other in style, subject and conceptual approach. Then what is very interesting, both for its historical and formal value, is another work that Hubert showed us. These are photographs taken a few decades ago of the residents of a deeply depressed neighbourhood, which is now completely transformed. But we will not anticipate anything because as soon as it is possible we want to show it in an extended form within a broader portfolio.

From the project Clôture monastique by Hubert Barre. © Hubert Barre. From the project Clôture monastique by Hubert Barre. © Hubert Barre.

We come then to the exhibition presented at Radio 3DFM. The exhibition, as mentioned, is divided into two parts. The first, entitled Clôture monastique (Enclosed monastery), is dedicated, as you can deduce from the title, the life within the enclosed monasteries. The research, which lasted about three years and developed mostly in the south of France, is certainly not innovative with regard to the choice of the theme. The merit of Hubert Barre, however, is that he focused on light and on its signs. Somehow this physical element, essential to the very existence of a photographic image, rises to a symbolic value. Through it are in fact described the silence of prayer and the daily intimacy of the monks. The light is characterised by a kind of cathartic value that reconstructs and gives visible form to that spirituality, normally shut off to outsiders gazes, instead the author was able to breathe in the places where he worked.

From the project Graffiti Tale by Hubert Barre. © Hubert Barre. From the project Graffiti Tale by Hubert Barre. © Hubert Barre.

The second project presented in the exhibition at the Voies Off 2016 is instead entitled Graffiti Tale and this is the result of his association with the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles. The project stems from the graffiti present on the Berlin Wall. For the author they represent the manifestation of a whole Western freedom that is in contrast to the reasons for which the wall itself had been erected. They represent, for the author, a sort of gateway between two irreconcilable worlds, and turn the wall from a barrier to the engine generator of that life force which made Berlin the city it is today. But the walls, all too present in our current affairs, surround us and at almost thirty years after knocking down the one in Berlin, with all its historical politics, the presence of the graffiti is still topical.

A detail of the setup of the exhibition Clôture monastique by Hubert Barre. © Hubert Barre.A detail of the setup of the exhibition Clôture monastique by Hubert Barre. © Hubert Barre.

The reinterpretation of Hubert Barre is on several levels. On the one hand, in fact, we have a first level, which consists of the graffiti that someone has realised on the walls. A second level is offered then of the interpretation that the artists asked by Barre to give their personal vision of that wall and of those graffiti. There is a third level, which is that of the author of the photographs. His is an intervention that does not overlap, but rather integrates into the construction of a new iconic plan where all the actants syncretically take on an active role of the development of the narrative level. [ Sandro Iovine ]

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by Hubert Barre
Radio 3DFM, 23 rond-point des Arènes - Arles (France)
1 – 31 July 2016
opening times: daily, 9 am - 5 pm
admission fee: free

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[ FPtag ] Voies Off 2016: the editorial point of view
[ exhibitions ] Sicily and Marpessa
[ exhibitions ] Mariage en Enfer

Voies Off
École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles

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published on 2016-07-26 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS



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