Bucharest Deconstructed : A Series of Diptychs

 Bucharest Deconstructed: A series of Diptychs, by Marylise Vigneau/Anzenberger

Bucharest seems to lie on some fault lines, in a fluidity both spatial and temporal, suspended between an unprocessed past and an uncertain future on the edge lands of Europe. Twenty-six years after the violent fall of Ceaușescu, deconstruction is manifest, the outcome of a story whose old logics are dissolving. The present is full of uncertainties, which remain volatile. A process of simultaneous modernization and decay is taking place. It is not easy to discard decades of the cruelest dictatorship. Its traces are still ubiquitous. The notorious Securitate might officially no longer exist, but its shadows remain on the faces of the destitute elderly. These images exist on the borderline between chronicle and fiction. None of them are staged, though reality is mainly a pretext to construct metaphors of a state of mind. This series is also about time, about inevitable endings, about what is fading — but also about what has yet to fade. It is about shadows that trace invisible, blurred, and oblique lines and borders. In a derelict department store that used to be the showcase of communist prosperity, the plastic ghost of Nadia Comaneci stares at the peeling walls, while at the other end of the city, a shy stuffed baby bear bears the company of the holy virgin. In between, there are bittersweet nothings and openings, prospects and reflections, along with disguises that intersect and answer one another. Elsewhere a young couple’s tenderness glows in the grayness. Hope is sometimes the thin reverse of desperation. Sadly the last frontier in this post-Cold War world may be the passing away of old generations whose sufferings and disillusions project an immensely sorrowful silence.

For more of Marylise’s photography, visit her website

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Marylise Vigneau

Raised in Paris in a conventional family Marylise Vigneau developed an early taste for peeping through keyholes and climbing walls. She studied Comparative Literature at la Sorbonne and her thesis was about cities as characters in Russian and Central European novels. Her education is essentially literary but photography became more and more her language during her life’s journey. She documents life mainly in Asia, focusing on cities and on what time, development or isolation do to them. She searches for the fragile beauty of human existence with its desires, humor and abysses. She likes to play with opposites; absence and presence, emptiness and fullness, isolation and multitude, fondness and irony, the very near and the faraway. The inner and the strange.