TCAF believes in the value produced by direct engagement with the art process. Lagamas residency was set up as an experimental ground to explore the creation and nurturing of bridges between a rural community (Lagamas and its Hérault valley) and the arts.
For its 2017 summer edition, TCAF was delighted to host acclaimed photographer and artist Gideon Mendel.
That year’s project was intended to embed the artist in the village of Lagamas and to promote Mendel’s skills investigating the inter-personal links defining the community.
“I plan to make a body of work that might speak of broader issues and profoundly reflect on the meaning and idea of a ‘village’ at this point in the history of the world.”
In a unique collaborative engagement with tintype photographer Jonathan Pierredon and assisted by Alice Mann, Mendel has developed a series of deep visual dialogues with the village of Lagamas.
What does constitue a village? Does the village still exist? What is the degree of romanticisation induced by the use of old technology? What is the tension between old and new, between permanence and change, between nostalgia and progress?
Together, Mendel and Pierredon are referencing the local history of photography, approaching the documentation of a small rural community with the mindset, technology and constraints of 19th century photographers. The process acts as a revealing gesture to unlock personal stories and trigger an exchange mechanism for the inhabitants across generational and toponymic lines.
Building on the new focus in Mendel’s practice on materiality, the artist invited each resident to give an object that they would like to be represented by. Over the duration of the project, Mendel worked on producing an assemblage of these objects, to establish resonance across these different investigations of the meaning of village life today.
The project culmination at the annual village party intended to present – through this closely observed harvest of objects – an emotional map of the community designed to be both conceptual and accessible.
View the video.