ÇA A ÉTÉ
Another unforeseen effect of confinement. This parenthesis led many of us to take a step back to think about what was really worth in our lives, and the possibility of death – suddenly so intrusive in everyday life. The Photographer Chantal Stoman lost one of her aunts during this period. She went to the funeral in the old cemetery of Bagneux, in the Paris neighborhood. There, she noticed, as a woman of image, the very old ceramic medallions which adorned certain tombs. […] Photography, as Barthes reminded us in La chambre claire, is attached to death. She always says “it was » ( Ça a été ).
[…] All these faces, set in whitish, damaged, sometimes illegible medallions, all say, in their own way, “it was”. But their statement gradually fades away. The sun, the rain, the cold, the heat, the weather, but also the passage of time, dissolve these portraits. In a kind of slow “fading”, they vanish, by the same movement that they were once « revealed”.
[…] The death of the image redoubles death. So men cannot stay. Everything must return to nothingness.[…] Perhaps the photographer even confusedly rebelled against this second disappearance. Suddenly, it seemed imperative to him to slow down the work, or rather the “idleness”, of time, the way in which it destroys what once was. He had to work to preserve, to safeguard these faces in the intermediate state where they are still there, but barely perceptible like ectoplasm, a state witnessing the passage of time in matter. A time that “passes”, that is to say, crosses, accumulates in the material of the ceramic image and this is what must be shown. Thus it would be a work of curative conservation: a gesture that preserves, without repairing them, the material traces of time. […] Thus the loop would be closed for these beings, “revealed” by photography, then “erased” by time, and again taken up and celebrated on a ceramic plate, material of memory, to retain them here a little longer… This work, which is a reflection in action on the photographic image, also leads to a reverie on materials – chemical, organic, mineral – and on the know-how, that of the photographer but also that of the master ceramist. These are the two cemeteries of Bagneux and Pantin – another large and beautiful cemetery where there are many medallions – which will form the framework of this quest.
An hour away from Tokyo, there is Ōme an unknown city. Unknown from tourists. Unknown from Japanese.
Nevertheless, it had glorious days. Ōme was one of the epicenters of auteur and hollywoodian cinema. People came from far to discover the films projected there. But then came the 1970s, one by one, the cinemas closed their doors. The cinema-enthusiasts ceased to come. Gradually, Ōme was forgotten.
Forty years later, by some absolute chance, I fell upon this city. I had just rediscovered Ōme.
Ōme is so many stories. That of an exceptional relationship with art from abroad. That, unfortunately so universal, of a decline. That of a relation to the past and to the memory, days of yore onto which officials and inhabitants are attached with so much emotion.
Convoking reality to invoke the past and let imagination free, I wish to give back life to Ōme. The work I’d like to carry out would be artistic, documentary and memorial at the same time.
Ōmecittà is the story of a travelling in this forgotten city of cinema.
Chantal Stoman is a French, Paris-based photographer.
The work of Chantal Stoman is part of an approach based on a thorough observation of the relationship between man and his intimacy and the City.
She began with A WOMAN’S OBSESSION, observing the special relationship between Japanese women and the world of European luxury brands.
Broadening her focus, it is from the elevated freeways that Chantal Stoman continued to observe the humanity hidden in the heart of the major cities of the world with LOST HIGHWAY, A PHOTO PROJECT. Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Cairo, Hong Kong, Mumbai, LOST HIGHWAY tells this tale shared by the great cities, where borders no longer exist.
This passion for the contemporary and its massive embodiment – the «city-world», in a continuous extension from Tokyo to Sao Paulo – does not hinder the sensivity of her vision of the vertical city and how we live in the thickness of Time.
The work realized by Chantal Stoman, first in Rome, then in Jerusalem, through her projects L’IMAGE CULTE and WALKING DISTANCE, testifies to a tropism towards «myth cities». These cities narrate History and their history so profoundly. Her attention to details – the tracking of a sense, a direction – introduces a questioning, a poetic suspense, adding to the photography the promise of a continuation.
In 2016, invited for an artist-in-residence in Cambodia, she immersed herself in the intimacy of Phnom Penh, a city she knew nothing about, giving birth to a new project ; VIEWS.
In 2017, Chantal Stoman started working on a photographic project entitled ŌMECITTA, thanks to the CNAP’s support for contemporary documentary photography. A complementary video project between cinema, art and documentary has been released.
- Théo Bellanger, “Galerie Sit Down – Remember the future“, Zone critique 14 October 2022
- Philippe Pons, “Écran total“, M Le magazine du Monde, 27 May 2017
- Véronique Groussard, “Ôme, le bonheur perdu du cinéma“, Téléobs, n°2929, 17 December 2022
- “Se retrouver à Ôme“, Talmudiques, par Marc-Alain Ouaknin, Radio France, 24 January 2021
- Patricia Lanza, “Chantal Stoman : Ômecitta“, L’Œil de la photographie, 5 March 2020
- “Un autre regard sur l’éternité“, Talmudiques, par Marc-Alain Ouaknin, Radio France, 30 June 2019
- “20 must-read books for fall“, Vogue, 12 October 2016
- Francesco Angelucci, “Chantal Stoman a Roma“, Insideart, 1 October 2014“Chercher des lumières dans la nuit : “Views“ par Chantal Stoman“, Les Petits Matins, par Emilie Chaudet, Radio France, 7 April 2017
- “ACR – Lost Highway“, L’Atelier de la création I 14-15, Radio France, 1 November 2012
- Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon, “Looking for the light, night after night“, The Phnom Penh Post, 26 August 2016
- Bruno Icher, “La piste Nuit blanche“, Libération, 21 October 2009