Galerie Maria Wettergren is pleased to present the exhibition The City Front by the French artist and photographer Benoît Fougerol. Through a series of works made betweeen 2002 and 2015 in the ZUS areas (Sensitive Urban Zones) of the Parisian suburbs, Benoît Fougeirol offers us a cartographic, toponymic and photographic inventory of the Sensitive Urban Zones, the Zus, on the outskirts of Paris, in order to interrogate their representations. A selection of seven silver print photos, 5 big and 2 small, as well as an installation Tentative d’Epuisement (« Attempted Exhaustion ») form the core of the exhibition. The latter work, with it’s title borrowed from Georges Perec, is the fruit of an important topographic research carried out by the artist between 2013 and 2014, composed of a map (drawn from a score of ZUS operations carried out by the National Agency for Urban Renovation in Seine-Saint-Denis); a text, composed from all the street names forming the parameter of these areas, like an administrative poem, pasted to the wall; and a slide show of black and white documentary photographs of these front lines, between city and city, zone and Suburbs, between what would be sensible, and what would not be.

Third element crowning the exhibition, the artist’s book (Zus), laureate of the prestigious MAD ADAGP Award La Révélation Livre d’Artiste 2018, is at the heart of this research, while forming a new work in its own right.

Patiently, sensibly, and without pathos, Benoît Fougeirol went to photograph these zones of exclusion. A long investigation of ten years, carried out in about twenty sites, and echoed in his work titles: Sarcelles, Bobigny, Vitry-sur-Seine… It is Jean-Christophe Bailly who, in his essai about the work of Benoît Fougeirol « The Landscape of abandonment« , underlines the paradox…« that it is precisely in these zones designated as sensitive that this desensitisation of the territory seems to be most effectively at work: spaces without texture, without accents, an enormous loss of knowledge, dereliction and, without doubt, since the scope of this kind of space is universal, the biggest civilisational failure of our time. »[1]

However, in the photographs of Benoît Fougeirol, in the midst of this abandonment, in spite of the emptiness, something significant is happening… something of a territory finally comes across, at the limit of erasure. As if the sensorial privation that seems to be the rule in these spaces was replaced by the sketch or the trace – unlikely, hesitant, almost clandestine – of a sensorial path.[2]

With his landscapes of ruins, or ruins of landscape, to borrow the poetic words of Jean-Paul Robert, Benoît Fougeirol’s photographic works, such as the 7 photographs of the Around / Around series raise the question of borders. Borders between the city and the city (Paris and the suburbs), architecture and nature, civilization and abandonment, between myth and reality.

Among the abandoned architectures, lots of wild vegetation. Growing everywhere, freely, anarchisticly, even inside the architecture, through the floors…In the words of the Jean-Paul Robert… »it is wild. Pretty good, actually. Quiet. Brightening. Open. Without visual or mental frame. It lives. It’s free. It breathes. It does not have order, it’s anarchy. It does not have a name, it’s not places or non-places, it’s utopia. It’s out of the frames. It escapes everywhere… »[3]  

Born in 1962, photographer and artist Benoît Fougeirol lives and works in and around paris. For some years now he has been exploring the uncertain zones of the city limits, collecting images. At once topographic and poetic, his approach captures the unsuspected, silent wealth of this space where greenery meets asphalt. The results can be seen in the book Autour / Around (éditions vmcf, 2010). Since then, he has concentrated on the so-called “sensitive” areas of the city. He has under-taken a methodical inventory of these territories whose reality exceeds or belies the simple clichés pasted over it.



B E N O Î T   F O U G E I R O L

T H E  C I T Y  F R O N T

November 30th 2018 – February 2nd 2019

TUE-SAT 11am – 7pm

Galerie Maria Wettergren

18 rue Guénégaud 75006 Paris



[1] Jean-Christophe Bailly, « The Landscape of abandonment« 

[2] Jean-Christophe Bailly, « The Landscape of abandonment« 

[3] Jean-Paul Robert, « Over There » in Autour / Around







2018          non readymades in the photographers archive, galeria asymetria warsaw group show

2018          the very landscape of abandon, galeria asymetria warsaw solo show with jerzy lewczynski archive

2017          paysages français, bibliothèque nationale de france paris group show

2017          tentative dépuisement iii, volume paris/punto de fuga group show

2017          the plates of the present so far, galerie praz delavallade paris group show

2016          botanic, deyrolle paris, photo saintgermain solo show

2016          (zus), luma dummy award, short list, rencontres darles group show

2015          ligne de fronts, école nationale darchitecture, paris la villette solo show

2015   dust, the plates of the present, baxter street new york group show   2014 tentative (s) dépuisement, cruce contemporaneo madrid group show 2013 dust photogram project, ivrysurseine group show

2013          botanic, temple galerie, paris solo show

2012          autour / around, domeau & pérès, la garenne colombes solo show

2012          la poesie austere du reel, clair galerie, saint paul de vence group show

2010          autour / around, domeau & pérès, paris solo show

2009          la librairie, galerie john tevis paris group show

2009          marimage, galerie meninos de luz, rio de janeiro group show

2007          la villa arpel, galerie de la manufacture de sevres, paris group show

2007          la villa arpel, domeau & peres, la garenne colombes solo show 2004         autour de cyrille putman, galerie enrico navarra, paris group show 2002         galerie serge aboukrat, paris group show

2002          galerie nathalie pariente, paris group show

2002          la périphérie, malakoff group show

2001          galerie serge aboukrat, paris group show

2000          recyclages, mayersaebel & mc hale, paris solo show

2000          polymères, colette paris solo show

1999          sédiments, mac sallaumines solo show

1999          cinquantenaire tati, flux cyrille putman group show

1998          crestet centre dart hors les murs solo show

1997          larrierepays, cac château des adhémar montelimar group show





(zus) mad adagp award 2018





centre national des arts plastiques, paris la defense collection lhoist, belgique

bibliothèque kandinsky, musée d’art moderne, paris caisse des dépôts et consignation, paris

musée carnavalet, paris

bibliothèque nationale de france, paris





(zus), x artistsbooks 2017 botanic, temple éditions 2013 cote 74, éditions jp robert 2013

autour / around, éditions vmcf 2010

sédiments, mac sallaumines1999

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  • Galerie Maria Wettergren is pleased to present the exhibition The City Front by the French artist and photographer Benoît Fougerol. Through a series of works made betweeen 2002 and 2015 in the ZUS areas (Sensitive Urban Zones) of the Parisian suburbs, Benoît Fougeirol offers us a cartographic, toponymic and photographic inventory of the Sensitive Urban […]