INFRAMUNDO / HYDRA
Oscurana Special Edition - Antoine D'Agata
Photobook and Editorial Project
OSCURANA presents a body of work born from different journeys made by Antoine d'Agata over the course of 30+ years in Brazil, Peru, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guatemala, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the United States, Cuba and Mexico.
Based on a selection of works by Antoine d' Agata in Latin America, this project was developed among six publishers in various countries, through dialog and and form of production that creates new proposals for the making of photobooks.
The following publishers participated:
EDICIONES FIFV, Chile
LE DERNIER CRI, France
SUB, EDITORA, Argentina
OSCURANA offers a reflection on the work of extraordinary French author Antoine d'Agata, from the perspectives of different countries and publishers. In addition it proposes an exploration of the wealth of possibilities offered by collaborative editorial projects.
The seven different books share the artistic declaration of Antoine d’Agata, the text named OSCURANA, as well as the same dimensions, however each editor was given complete freedom in image and material selection, design, printing methods and binding.
An essential part of the project is that each book has been developed and produced in the country of each publisher, using local materials and printing processes, making each book a living medium that responds to collaborative processes and dialog.
These seven books come together in a boxed set, a limited edition of 100 copies, designed by Ramon Pez and produced by INFRAMUNDO. When this box is opened, it exposes silk-screened images and the seven books that show different versions of the body of work of Antoine d’Agata’s OSCURANA.
“The photographs of the book Oscurana are remarkable for their immediate, almost brutal view of the societies taken in the brutal spiral of violence. Going through the violence of cultures, through the degeneration and the paroxysm of the flesh, the photographer tries to reveal fragments of society’s that escape from customary analysis and visualization of the social body. He exposes himself, sharpens his consciousness of a world that he absorbs and feeds on, without the slightest precaution or judgment.
Antoine d'Agata photographs inside communities who refusing to reduce themselves to servitude, find an escape in sexual ecstasy, narcotic experimentation, or self-destruction. Depravity seems to become, in a brutal manner, a last possible strategy towards urban survival and emancipation. The photographer looks at shattered bodies that struggle and console each other's in primitive copulation, an antidote to the profound silence that weighs on minds dehumanized by global economy and religion.
Reality slowly dissolves through his gaze, in a phantasmagorical space devoid of depth or substance. In the obscene transparency of an ultra-communicational world, Antoine d'Agata, rejecting voyeuristic or sociological standpoints, takes responsibility for the position he assumes. He invents a language of made out of instinct and flesh, as a barrier against puritanical and economical order, and frees himself from a global and insidious ideology geared to replacing desire with fear.
In the photographs, an endless accumulation of empty gazes perpetuates the stunned deprivation of men defeated by history. In a world where everything is done to eradicate all traces of desire, rage, pain and fear, Antoine d'Agata photographs the fragile shadows that cut free of social control by appeasing animal urges, evading the moral order and accessing the last magic rites of instinct. Poverty is antithetical to order.
From the various journeys that over thirty years Antoine d'Agata has made in the countries of Brazil, Peru, Nicaragua, Salvador, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guatemala, Chile, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Cuba and México (focusing in the last one). He extirpates the scary material that he uses to construct a tense, immobile diary. The devastated empty landscape around him reflects some increasingly volatile societies. Still images, cinematographic narratives, the black and white, the glom and darkness make up a personal diary that, through violent, intimate, sexual, death or narcotic encounters, confronts and dialogue with an increasingly sickening reality. To portray the lonely and marginal world he wanders through, the photographer uses a language that seems to degenerate and loose all humanity as time goes by.”
Born in Marseilles, Antoine d'Agata left France in 1983 and remained overseas for the next ten years. Finding himself in New York in 1990, he pursued an interest in photography by taking courses at the International Center of Photography, where his teachers included Larry Clark and Nan Goldin. During his time in New York , in 1991-92, d'Agata worked as an intern in the editorial department of Magnum, but despite his experiences and training in the US, after his return to France in 1993 he took a four-year break from photography. His first books of photographs, De Mala Muerte and Mala Noche, were published in 1998, and the following year Galerie Vu began distributing his work. In 2001 he published Hometown, and won the Niépce Prize for young photographers. He continued to publish regularly: Vortex and Insomnia appeared in 2003, accompanying his exhibition 1001 Nuits, which opened in Paris in September; Stigma was published in 2004, and Manifeste in 2005. In 2004 d'Agata joined Magnum Photos and in the same year, shot his first short film, Le Ventre du Monde (The World's Belly); this experiment led to his long feature film Aka Ana, shot in 2006 in Tokyo. Since 2005 Antoine d'Agata has had no settled place of residence but has worked around the world.