The photographic series ‘Souvenir d’un Futur’ by Laurent Kronental shows the lives of the residents of some large postmodern buildings in Paris, in the districts of Noisy-le-Grand and La Défense.
These residential complexes or ‘Grandes Ensembles’ were built during the 1970s and 1980s in the suburbs of the French capital.
The ‘Grandes Ensembles’ were conceived as oversized scenarios of the utopian Paris of the 70s, as residences for citizenship of the future.
‘Les Espaces d’Abraxas’ and ‘Les Arcades du Lac’ (1978-83 y 1981, Ricardo Bofill), ‘Arènes de Picasso’ (1985, Manuel Nuñez Yanowsky), ‘Les Damiers’ (1974-76, Folliasson y Kandjian), ‘Vision 80’ (1973, J.Jouve, A. Frieschlander y C. Mamfredos) or ‘Les Orgues de Flandre’ (1970-80, Martin van Treeck), are the residential complexes chosen by he photographer as locations.
In ‘Souvenir d’un Futur’ by Laurent Kronental, utopia and reality intermingle creating a futuristic and melancholic image, as if they were past situations.
With this photographic series, the artist examines the living conditions of a generation sometimes abandoned at his mercy. Exposing these unrecognized and underestimated suburban areas he is revealing the poetry of aging environments that are slowly disappearing, and with them, the memory of the modernist utopia brought about by its inhabitants.
The massive gray buildings are marked by the pass of time as same as are their older residents, who bear the signs of a long life. The peaceful faces of the portraits and the nakedness of the spaces convey a mixture of resignation and expectation, a world of contrasts where there are deep layers of life and spontaneity.
These “monuments”, like living memories of their time, have a fragile force: that of a younger generation that was not seen with its true age.
After four years of visits and exchanges, ‘Souvenir d’un Futur’ by Laurent Kronental has succeeded in creating the atmosphere of a parallel world, mixing the past and the future, and showing a metropolis appearance emptied of its residents.
In this magnificent and ghostly world, the structures of the cities would be titanic, engulfing the human, product of our fears and hopes of an organization of the city.