November, 28, 2013 – January 4, 2014 : RUBANS PHOTOGRAPHIQUES, Galerie Eulenspiegel – BASEL

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Gregor Muntwiler
Gerbergässlein 6
CH – 4001 Basel

T + 41 61 263 70 80



“There are not three times, past, present and future, but there are three presents: the present of the past, the present of the present and the present of the future”.

Christian Lebrat’s rubans photographiques (Paris, 1952) seem to explain visually this statement by the philosopher St. Augustine. The series, which began in 1978, works on the concept of time and rhythm in a new and innovative way, between photographic and cinematographic technique.
Christian Lebrat, on the assumption that time is relative, takes possession of it and manipulate it. The artist uses an accordion camera and he chooses the temporal sequences of his photographs. He unrolls the film to his liking and he chooses the distances, playing with time and with the perception that we have of it.
Lebrat chooses the times of his photography depending on the place and on his relationship with this place. The Parisian photographer soaks himself in the surroundings: what Lebrat perceives is then transferred in his rubans photographiques. The camera is no longer a mere tool to produce an object, it is not an external medium: it becomes an extension of the hand of the artist. In fact, the artist feels the flow of time, which is  differently faster or slower depending on places and situations.
It is exactly this perception that marks rubans photographiques’ rhythm. But they are not chronophotographs in which there are various positions of a moving subject at different moments in a single photographic image: Lebrat’s photographic ribbons are a continuum. The subject is surely repeated, is taken from different angles, from different perspectives, but there is not a before and an after: everything is a set, everything is connected.
The rubans photographiques are chronostasis punctuated by the skillful hand of Lebrat. In these photos we find his present, his perception of time and of those photographed subjects, which are accurately investigated, unrolled and eviscerated to fully catch them. The subjects are thereby rendered everlasting, they are no more ephemeral.
Here then there is only one time in rubans photographiques, the time of the present.


Camilla Crescini