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28 June 2013

Martin Becka, Dubai Transmutations

With these photo series, Martin Becka interrogates us about our sense of how we organise the present and about our hopes for the future. Using photographic processes that date from the invention of photography, he disorients the beholder by setting up an illusion of ‘collapsed time’. Dubai, for example, paradise of globalisation, with its monumental architecture and town planning, its reputation as a symbol of modernity, wealth and success, is projected into a different space-time. Becka shows us the city as if we were looking at it from the perspective of the distant future—a kind of ‘archaeology of the present-day’.

The series Dubai transmutations was made in Spring, 2008 using a 40 x 50 cm view camera and waxed paper negatives. The process was invented in 1851 by Le Gray. It is not very suitable for temperatures as high as those in Dubai and involves a quite different method of working from gelatin silver print or present-day digital photography. The photographer has to make the negatives at dawn on the day of the shoot and develop them the same evening. The prints, made after returning home, are contact prints on salted paper with gold toning.

Jean-Pierre Quignaux

Prints by the artist. Framing by Circad, Paris.

Courtesy of the artist.

 Artist presented by Zeina Arida for the Discovery Award. 

Exhibition venue : Atelier de Mécanique, Parc des Ateliers.