This project is about how cities change as the time goes by; how new and old architectures overlap in urban spaces like the superposition of geological strata.

Through photomontages, Downtown Corrida transposes buildings of historic interest in demolition yards, and focuses on the very moment of their implosion. Three-hundred-year-old town houses become suddenly as precarious and unsteady as the obsolete large public housing units that fill European suburbs.

By stopping the movement of the fall, I intend to initiate a reflection about the urban time scale. How long before a complete change of our surroundings? What kind of housing will be preserved or destroyed? Finally, the technique of photomontage forms an allegory of the urban sedimentation process.

Inspired by American realism, people in the foreground define the place of all and sundry in this evolution. They seem to be waiting for something, a vanished environment or, on the contrary, a new one that hasn’t been built yet. 

They’re looking at the show of the implosion as they would while attending a corrida. There is the symbolic space of the bullring (the safety perimeter), the expectation of the deathblow (the countdown to explosion), and the carcass of the beaten animal (the rubbish). At the end, the audience generally applauds and the images of the demolition become a part of our collective subconscious.

In the background, the field of vision constantly bumps into the limits of a site or a piece of land. This fragmented space, borrowed from Giorgio de Chirico’s metaphysical paintings, progressively turns into a no-way-out perimeter and announces a future made of globalized architectures.


Editor's Note: We discovered Alban Lecuyer's work at the Fetart Circulation(s) Festival of Young European Photography, held in Paris, France February – March 2011.