Gayle Chong Kwan

Paris Remains (2008)

Details Series of 11 x c-type prints
Installation ArtSway, Hampshire
Dates 18 April — 14 June 2009
Photo Credit Gayle Chong Kwan

'Emmanuelle Lavaud 'Paris Remains' in 'The Grand Tour' (excerpt)

Nothing is more beautiful than Paris, apart from the memory of Paris. Chris Marker
Gayle Chong Kwan’s photographs are very beautiful, they speak to me greatly. They are like geological imprints that retrace our history. Her image transports me. A temporal strength lives within it. Beyond them being famous photographic landscapes, they are also simply fragments of food, the small scattered crumbs that we throw to the sparrows of Paris. And the gesture of the hand in doing this is like a signature. Before her, I am a traveller who discovers an ancient fire. I am like a child who dreams in front of a hearth. It is like a heart that beats in the night. I sense the beat of the fragile membrane of the tiny orange cone in one of her photographs. I want to protect it. The mauve sky spreads like the perfume of a flower, I approach it and I remember. I saw a painting at the Prado. A painting by El Greco that looks like the moment of memory. The people are turning towards a source of incandescent light that illuminates their faces in the night. It is both theatrical and mysterious. There is the jester, a child and a small monkey. Their faces are full of life and love. They are pink from playing; there is a golden shirt and the white of the clown. Everything is light; a source of pleasure and warmth. Their smiles light up the night, the moment is intense, solemn, as though suspended on a thread bound to the future. What can become of our voyage? What spaces are there for memory? A last gesture of love perhaps. A breath of life towards this tiny well of warmth, and the hope before which the small fire can be born.