£38 / 140pp
“Art is something that is interesting to think about, rather than something that is interesting to look at." – Lewis Baltz, 2012
It is a bold decision to print a large, impressively bound photobook and to leave the majority of pages blank, yet in TEMPS MORT, absence of communication is a key part of the narrative. Compiled over the course of 8 months via a series of 300 mobile phone text and picture messages between artist Mohamed Bourouissa and an inmate named Al, the images show us a series of blurry, highly pixelated glimpses of day-to-day life within a penitentiary near Paris. The photographs are presented in chronological order, dated and timed, and interwoven with transcripts of text messages. Days and weeks sometimes pass with nothing, pages roll by and the dates jump forward until we receive the next fragment – the exercise yard, a corridor, a view of the sunset, a saucepan. The reader is overtly encouraged to fill in the blanks between these snatches of mundanity, with the text by Magali Jauffret drawing parallels between the frail half-light of the grainy jpegs and the bleak fuzziness that enshrouds an incarcerated person’s identity.
Reviewed by James D. Clark
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