In the 19th century, photographers accompanied archaeological expeditions and created images of the ruins of ancient civilizations to bring back to modern civilization. Today, Guillaume Martial has found strange architectural objects in our every day environment and gives them a similar treatment. For example, Martial uses the pictorial convention of placing figures in the photographs to measure the size of the objects and test how they might have been used in the past. Some of the objects appear as if they were built to honor a deity. Other pictures suggest that the objects might have been sites for human sacrifice, rituals performed to curry favor with a divine agency. If this is the case, they might have been built to worship the deity known as Jacques Tati.
"PARADE" questions our appropriation of the urban space. By playing a clever body language game, Guillaume Martial depicts a character (himself) seeking by all means to make sense of the street furniture. The result is a new reading of the landscape, surreal, absurd and comic.
—Paul Wombell, curator and art director of France(s) Territoire Liquide. Former director of the Photographers’ Gallery in London (1994-2005).
Editor's Note: Guillaume Martial's work was featured in the exhibition France(s) Territoire Liquide, which was part of the photography festival Transphotographiques held in Lille, France between June 5 and July 7, 2014.