Mehdi BELHAJ KACEM
“We are only a little stored, organized solar heat, a memory of Sun. A little phosphorus that burns in the meninges of the world. ” Paul Cézanne
From the first day of confinement ensuing the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, Antoine d’Agata roamed the streets of Paris with a thermal camera to record, in his own unique way, the viral epidemic that turned the city into a strange theatre of wandering souls, bowed heads and fleeing bodies. Initially attracted by the way in which the thermodynamic device records the various infrared rays (heat waves) emitted by bodies, which vary according to their temperature, the artist was soon fascinated by a process that reduces human subjects to essential figures, devoid of superfluous characteristics or specificities.
Living and working for two months out of the Paris office of the Magnum Photos agency and gallery, he used the thermal technique to document the impregnation of the deserted city existing under confinement: a city plunged into silence, traversed by bodies with stereotypical attitudes, inhabited above all by the homeless who appear – in these images – as the last truly living and resistant bodies, austere and flame-tinged compositions offering an alternative and dystopian vision of the emptying streets.