Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations

French photographer Eric Tabuchi has created a modern day reprise of Ed Ruscha's ground-breaking artist's book from 1963, Twentysix Gasoline Stations. Tabuchi has published a boxed set of 26 oversized postcard-like prints of photos he's taken between 2002 and 2008.

Tabuchi's work captures abandoned, rusting, toxic-leaking architectural ruins that blight the landscape and roadscapes of France. In a spirit very much akin to Ruscha's, Tabuchi photographed these abandoned gasoline stations in a flat, objective style, showing them just as plainly as they exist. If there is a moral argument to the story, Tabuchi leaves it to the viewer to decide.

Ruscha talked about his own work in an interview with Bernard Brunon, in the book Leave any Information at the Signal:

In the early 1950s I was awakened by the photographs of Walker Evans and the movies of John Ford, especially Grapes of Wrath where the poor “Okies” (mostly farmers whose land dried up) go to California with mattresses on their cars rather than stay in Oklahoma and starve. I faced a sort of black-and-white cinematic emotional identity crisis myself in this respect—sort of a showdown with myself—a little like trading dust for oranges. On the way to California I discovered the importance of gas stations. They are like trees because they are there. They were not chosen because they were pop-like but because they have angles, colors, and shapes, like trees. They were just there, so they were not in my visual focus because they were supposed to be social-nerve endings. Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations is a nice follow-on to Tabuchi's previously published series, also from the highways of France, called Alphabet Truck. Both series seem to reference the history of artists' books, and typological studies like the Bechers', and some kind of hybrid salute to road movies.

— Jim Casper



Twentysix Abandoned Gasoline Stations
by Eric Tabuchi
15.5 x 19 cm.
Edition of 500
Edition: Florence Loewy, Paris