Gilles Raynaldy: Domiciles

Gilles Raynaldy: Domiciles
Ecole nat. sup. d’architecture de Paris la Villette, Paris
4-28 Nov, 2008

Domiciles by Gilles Raynaldy turned out to be one of the more pleasant and rewarding shows of the Mois. It was a simple enough idea and project, taking photographs of the interiors (mainly) of the homes of different people, mainly in France, but also some in Morocco. (The examples you can see on his web site are arranged in two projects, Parisian apartments and Moroccan interiors.)

Each residence was represented with a short text about the person or people who lived there, giving their occupation (or former occupation for the several who were retired.) There was then a short series of pictures of the interior of the house or flat, nicely taken and well-printed in colour.

The interiors reflected the personalities of the individuals concerned, but not just that, also of course their affluence and other aspects of their background, as well as the locations. These varied from tiny flats in Paris through mansions in the south and some rather more rudimentary housing abroad.

It was very nicely done and rather fascinating in a kind of voyeuristic way. It reminded me of the glimpses inside houses that one gets walking down the street in the early evening, when people have put on their lights but not yet closed their blinds or curtains, often fascinating but it would be rude to stop and stare. In these pictures Raynaldy has gained access and permission to do just that.

I did wonder about the choice of these particular examples, which was not dealt with in the notes on the show but were certainly in no way a random sample or cross-section of the population. There were, for example, several photographers, a rahter small element of society.

There were apparently a hundred 30x40cm colour images on show and I think it would have been at least as effective as a book or a high quality presentation on CD or DVD (my normal screen has an almost identical size.)

It made me think briefly of another series of domestic interiors, Bert Teunissen’s Domestic Landscapes  but these are very different, with Teunissen photographing the inhabitants in their own homes. Raynaldy’s people, who are perhaps his true subjects, remain invisible (or almost so), and the photographer roams their creation, recording their arrangement of territory and traces of their existence. It’s a project that perhaps has rather more in common with my views of shop interiors that made up a large part of the series ‘Cafe Ideal, Cool Blondes and Paradise.

Lewisham, London, ca. 1990 by Peter Marshall

Also on display in the show was a book of work by Raynaldy ‘Habitat social en Meuse‘ (also on his web site) which looked like a fine urban landscape project.

Showing in a projection area at the centre of the display were a couple of extensive slide shows by various photographers. One, on children seemed to me to have rather too many images that were largely of interest to the families concerned, mixed in with some more interesting work and some visual candyfloss. ‘Contempler et construire’ was made of sterner stuff, although not all the work appealed to me, but I was particularly interested to see the urban landscapes of Normandy as shown by Benoit Grimbert. The subject seemed rather more appropriate to his rectangular format and upright approach than the North Circular Road show I had viewed the previous day.

One Response to “Gilles Raynaldy: Domiciles”

  1. […] de la Villette. As always I found a few things to photograph. We were on our way to visit shows by Gilles Raynaldy and then on to work by two photographers at a new arts centre in what had previously been the […]

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