Alexandre Silberman (born 1983) is a director and photographer based in Paris (France). Graduated in Philosophy and in Communication from LYON III University, he mainly works on documentary projects touching on the cultural and the societal, in relation to the research he conducted during his studies.
His photographic approach, along with his cinematic work, has developed around the analysis of the relationships between a place and those who cross it.
Hence was created the NEW CITY/NEW GOD series, which was centered around the place of religion in Brasilia and which was presented at the Red Bull Station in Sao Paulo (Brazil) in 2016.
In 2018, his series on the scenography of Beauty in Ile-de-France museums, THE GREAT BEAUTY, was the subject of a monographic exhibition at the Moritzhof Gallery in Magdeburg (Germany).
This series was selected in 2019 to participate in the International Photography Festival of Lenzburg (Switzerland).
Alexandre Silberman’s work has been published in Broad Magazine, Regards, and Urban China Magazine among others.
Differences and Repetitions
“My territories are beyond grasp, and not because they are imaginary, but on the contrary, because I am in the process of outlining them.”
– Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaux
Established in 1968 for the purpose of fragmenting the Île-de-France’s “red belt,” the Seine-Saint-Denis department was formed in a way that simultaneously attached it to and isolated it from Paris. Ideologically split from the concomitant capital, it was also demographically, economically, and culturally so, all while still being “the periphery of.” In opposition to Paris’s immutable heritage, the area asserted its own identity through its heterogeneity, the plurality of its voices, and the radicalness of its mutations. The “9.3.” – the department’s administrative number, which has become its symbol – was and remains beyond grasp, and is now even more so than it used to be. Vast and secluded, famed and feared, it is both the agent and the victim of its own paradoxes.
In a historical coincidence that makes them seem like obvious things to bring together, the notion of unity through difference was to be the subject of philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s doctoral thesis, DIFFERENCE, AND REPETITION, which he presented in 1968, that very same year. The choice of title for this series is thus an homage to his thinking, which no longer strove to understand change by opposing identity to alterity, new to old, interior to exterior, but to do so through their necessary interrelatedness.
An homage that is incarnated, here, by people, places, and objects, hence the pluralization of the title. An homage in layers, because those are what this is all about: the territory is thought of here by thinking through its depth, rendering visible layers that coexist in a way that is asynchronous, paradoxical, or, in more Deleuzian terms, incompressible.
In this series, what one should be seeing is the history of a territory and its relationship to modernity. What is left of the enormous marshlands and of the vast industrial areas, which used to be the biggest ones in France? How far did the successive migratory waves carry, and what became of the subsequent generations?
Whether through portraits or landscapes, scenes from life, or posed ones, what interests us here is to analyze the subjects’ geology, to make a stratigraphy of them.
And if the series is willfully repetitive, that repetition is one of difference – a difference that each image is the expression of. Because it is different, ultimately, that binds us all together and makes for a plural territory that is transformed not by a single, common momentum, but by common momentums.
To paraphrase the anonymous workers’ representative from the town of Sète who attended the international anarchist convention in Geneva in August 1882: “We are united because we are divided”.
To view more of Alexandre Silberman’s work please visit their website.