Paula Roush fait revivre les archives du journal Al-Yom

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Exposition
2015-10
Cet article a été publié dans: 
Numéro 92 - Octobre 2015

C’est un travail de précision, que l’artiste photographe Paula Roush a accompli avec Antoine Sfeir de Plan Bey et la Fondation Arabe pour l’Image afin de nous présenter “Torn, Folded, Curled”, l’exposition qui s’est déroulée du 23 au 26 Septembre 2015 au Makan à Beyrouth.

 


 
Petite histoire de photos irrécupérables…

 


 
«Torn, Folded, Curled» est le statut donné aux photos irrécupérables. Celles que l’on ne peut ni restaurer ni scanner. Le seul moyen de les conserver est de les photographier, comme l’explique Paula Roush, artiste photographe, chercheuse et enseignante à la London South Bank University.
C’est par un véritable hasard que Paula a eu l’occasion de travailler sur une infime partie des photos des archives du Journal Al-Yom, abandonnées après un long périple à travers l’histoire de la guerre civile au Liban.

 


 
Pour ces photos, issues des archives impeccablement tenues par la maison Al-Yom fondée en 1937 par Afif El Tibi, rien ne laissait présager le premier traumatisme subi lorsque les locaux du journal Al-Yom sont dynamités en 1975.

Celles qui ont pu être sauvées se retrouvent stockées dans un appartement de Beyrouth Ouest qui aura lui aussi son lot de misères lorsqu’en 1989, au cours de la guerre de « Libération », un obus incendiaire vint violement disperser leurs rangs.
A chaque coup du destin, leur nombre diminuait, on ne comptait plus les pertes…Torn, Folded, Curled…  les archives personnelles et celles du journal se mélangeaient, d’autres albums de famille venaient se joindre au lot.

 


 
Au final, c’est un amas de vielles photos jaunies et jugées bonnes pour la poubelle, laissées pour compte après un énième déménagement, qui attirent l’attention de la Directrice de la Fondation Arabe pour l’Image avec laquelle collabore Paula Roush.

 


 
Cette fois le destin était du bon côté, il leur a donné l’occasion de se révéler, d’attirer la curiosité à nouveau et de s’exhiber en plein jour. Elles appartiennent désormais au Patrimoine…quel honneur !
Antoine Sfeir de Plan Bey et Paula Roush ont publié une sélection de ces photos couplées à des phrases du livre de Elie-Pierre Sabbag « L’ombre d’une ville », imprimées sur papier Favini Le Cirque 80g. Un charmant ouvrage de mémoire à conserver.
Une nouvelle fois mises à l’abri dans les locaux du magazine Al-Ayam, les autres photos attendent, pleines d’espoir, des jours meilleurs qui leur permettront elles aussi de raconter leur histoire…une fois de plus.

 


 
Une autre histoire, désormais liée à celle des archives du journal Al-Yom, fut également révélée par l’exposition au Makan à travers des photographies non développées ayant appartenu à un banquier libanais, RS. Les images qui en sortent, dont des femmes nues paraissant très à l’aise devant l’objectif, montrent le Beyrouth des années 50-60. Elles étonnent, amusent ou choquent, c’est selon. Elles font surtout leur travail, celui de conserver pour toujours une preuve que la société libanaise a su, autrefois, être heureuse.





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