Clément Chapillon is a French documentary photographer who work on long term projects to explore the link between the land and the people. After 10 years working in communication, he graduated at the Gobelins school and he started a 2 years documentary work on Israel and Palestine. This work called “Promise Me a Land” captures the marks that the land imprinted on people identity, their hopes, their fantasies, their promises. This serie was published in media & newspaper (Le monde, Arte, L’OBS, Geo, Ignant…), was exhibited in several festivals and cultural institutions (Voies-Off Arles, Circulations, Tbilissi, MAC Paris, WBC Jerusalem…) and won the Leica Prize in 2017 in Arles who allowed him to make a solo show in Leica Gallery in Paris in april 2018. The book “Promise Me a Land” was published by Kehrer Verlag in May 2018. In November 2018, he was the winner of a photographic commission in California for the British Journal of Photography. Beginning of 2019, He won the photography price of the Treilles Foundation, a 3 months artist residence to work on a new project called “les rochers fauves” and explore the Mediterranean identity mixed with the imaginary of an island, Amorgos.
About Les rochers fauves – words by Clément Chapillon:
It’s balanced between the sky and sea. it is the radical and absolute origin. It is a prison, elusive and luminous. It is a space in which to lose oneself, to reveal oneself. It is neither completely here, nor completely elsewhere. The island is a fragment, an abbreviation of the world.
In his new series entitled “Les rochers fauves”, Clement Chapillon questions the notion of geographical and mental isolation through an island in the Aegean Sea.
He discovered the Greek island of Amorgos about fifteen years ago, which over time became his obsession. A remote island, Amorgos is the poorest and least densely populated of all Greece, but also one of the most fascinating because of its geography and intact traditions. In 2018, Chapillon began an in-depth documentary work that spanned 2 years – capturing the intimacy of the Ilians, the topography and the vernacular of the Island.
What happens to identity when it is surrounded by water on all sides?
What happens to our relationship to the sacred, the mineral, the animal and the imaginary?
If the word isolated literally means “taking the shape of an island”, how can we give shape to the feeling of insularity?
As time goes by, the hold of the island becomes more and more demanding, time and space dilate, a feeling of dereliction invades us under the crumbling gaze of icons. As the novelist Francesca Melandri said, « If you want to keep someone really apart, there is no wall higher than the sea » . With isolation comes a polarity, both dark and luminous. Under the immaculate whiteness of the walls and the tawny beauty of the rocks, a mystery, a disturbing strangeness is hidden.
“Les rochers fauves” enters into a dialogue with one of the first writings on this island, under the pen of the archaeologist, Gaston Deschamps, who in 1180 wrote “Greece today”. An island mythology then takes shape, nearly 140 years apart, where a palimpsest of words from the past resonates with today’s images.
This work was made with the support of the Fondation des Treilles, of which Chapillon was a laureate in 2019.”