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Monday, 28 October 2013

Mothers, Death and Macquenoise

The French TV series, The Returned is about people who had died, who had been mourned and were gone -  suddenly returning to life. It was quiet and still and filled with expressive faces and hidden truths and simmering resentments. Amidst all the stillness there was envy, lust and rage. Much of that rage came from a pair of brothers who lived with their mother in a secluded farmhouse on the southern edge of the French Alps; a home from which both brothers would hunt and kill from. Sometimes it would be animals they would kill, sometimes people.

Macquenoise by Pierre Liebaert reminds me of the Returned. It's a series of pictures focussing on the life of a mother and son living in an isolated town on the French/Belgian border. There's hunting and killing and expressive faces peeking out from behind trees or sleeping in raggedy armchairs. The sensation of viewing the pictures is of remoteness and isolation, of a basic existence tempered by ever-present reminders of the participants' own mortality. The pictures are printed on newsprint - which is stitched down one side and merges with the accompanying gatefold sleeve which wraps around it. This is just beautiful, with a graphically printed image of a dead rabbit (that also appears in the newspaper) staring out of you in red, black and white colours.

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