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Monique Deregibus

La Maison Chypre

Monique Deregibus carries on a history of the conceptual landscape. Each series focuses on specific places, sometimes near, sometimes far. They always show a strong interest in the subconscious reminiscences contained in maps as well as in ideas about architecture and cities. Those spaces, usually consigned to editorial work, can be read as the abandoned stage set of human tragedies.

“La maison Chypre” is a facsimile of the eponymous book that came out at the same time, like a work indefinitely destined for its own reproducibility. The question of archeological exploration appears at the heart of the repetition. Archeological research is central in the book through the pallid presence of bones exhumed from the past. It appeared like a paradigmatic point in the history of Cyprus, mirroring Pompeii and its slow flow of lava, and by extension all the mass graves in the world.

The book’s first photograph runs afoul of the law and its presence attests to the forbidden and to widespread confiscation on the island. It reveals a capture device through which perceiving always remains a veiled, interstitial, incomplete act. The photographic frame is narrow and limited, squeezing the image, cancelling a group of dialectical forms and causes. We ceaselessly watch through walls, fences, arrow slits, barbed wire. At the same time, we watch the inertia of images, the impossibility for photography to narrate history. And yet, the book exists in a tangle of overlapping branches, in the entropy of nature that breaks open doors and tears down walls, in a profusion of endlessly proliferating weeds and cactuses. The absurdity of war took place here, but long ago. It swept away every breath of life, leaving men to face a Kafkaesque situation of walls and division.

1974: The image now shows a soundless, caramelized space that cannot be awakened, the space that lasts afterwards and endures until today. Perhaps only the child seen from the back in an orange T-shirt represents us. His elegant, voracious hands are jittery on the computer keyboard. His body tense, he is alone in front of the bright screen, playing a war game on the computer. We watch him without his knowing it, from behind, focused, and through him we watch the screen and its image.

That is how making war is learned today.

Exhibition curator: Pascal Neveux
Prints by the Photon laboratory, Toulouse.
Frames and wallpaper by Atelier SHL.
La maison Chypre, 2009-2013 is Monique Deregibus’s third book in collaboration with Les Éditions Filigranes, Paris.