Home Front cover PHOTO ESSAYS About Letters Contact Products Shop LIFE FORCE
The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
February 2015 issue
by Serge Clement
Back to menu
Dépaysé explores the intimate connection between the artist and his work. This corpus developed on the margins of the artist’s many photographic projects over a forty-year career. As a solitary journey into the heart of urban solitude and its periphery, particularly that of Montreal, Serge Clément’s work irresistibly draws the viewer into an intimate relationship to the image. The present seems always to be referring back to the memory of a fleeting instant charged with an emotion that is as intense as it is vague. Dépaysé, entirely in black and white, has been conceived as a palimpsest. As the images accumulate, they become superimposed, thereby creating an imaginary density containing fragments of space-time that appear transparent to each other. The reason for this is that, for Clément, photography always seems to be closely related to the book, even when it is displayed on the walls of an exhibition space. Moreover, a huge book is often placed in the centre of his exhibitions. A handmade object with no words with large, pliable pages, which are not easy to turn, it imprints on the viewer the idea that an image always refers to other images. This idea has two aspects. On the one hand, it signifies that an image is a leaky container – a number of signs indicate this: smoke, fog, streams and rivers, reflections, and streets running across the image. On the
other, Serge Clément constantly questions the power of the photographic image to capture reality. A certain street, a certain perspective, this deserted place, those passersby are not really tied to a clearly identifiable real world, but belong to the abstract universe of an essentially imaginary city. It is not important to know whether the place in question is Montreal, Lectoure, New York, Lyon, Tokyo or Trois-Rivières since the viewer is not expected to recognize a particular location but rather to lose himself between several places. Clément is a master of the play of mirrors and of deceptive transparencies, of subtle filtering meant to disorient the viewer and to make him move between real and imaginary space. Dépaysé displays variations of the visual and mental space that connects the photographer to the world of which he frames a fragment of darkness penetrated by light. This space is made up of intimacy, secrets, silence and solitude. Clément thus confronts us with an almost surreal strangeness. 
Tweed - Montreal, Quebec, 1970.
Lumière - Lyon, France, 2010.
Friperie - Montreal, Quebec, 2008.
Uniforme - Montreal, Quebec, 1975.
Archipel - Cap-aux-Meules, Quebec, 2002.
Colonnes - New York, NY, USA, 1998.
Getty 01 - Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2004.
Portique - Montreal, Quebec, 2008.
Accord - Montreal, Quebec, 1994.
Sosie - ——, Quebec, 1986.
Charpente - Valleyfield, Quebec, 1973.
Flip - Outremont, Quebec, 1975.
Recit - Trois-Rivières, Quebec, 1982.
Village - Port-Daniel, Quebec, 1975.
Danielle - Valleyfield, Quebec. 1973.
Ambulant - New York, NY, USA, 1976.
Frigidaire - Montreal, Quebec, 1977.
Manu - Arles, France, 2003.
Rosace - New York, NY, USA, 1977.
Strate - Prague, Rep. Tcheque, 1992.
Back to current issue