Frederic Lezmi: Beyond Borders (from Vienna to Beirut)
I have been searching for the “in between” – whatever lies geographically as well as culturally between my world here in the midst of Europe and my long term focus of interest in the Middle and Near East. Being half Lebanese myself, I have been studying cultural interfaces within the distant Arabic World.
From August to December 2008 I traveled between Vienna and Beirut. I encountered people in versatile worlds, inside or in front of architectural places, both real and artificial, public and private. In my photographs, people emerge either as just passers-by or while waiting, as subjects and objects of the viewer’s eye, moving about in their urban or rural environment. These are distanced views in which locals and tourists are on similar paths, randomly congregating and forming elusive compositions. These pictures represent neither precise documents nor do they create artistic worlds. They are constructions of multicolored, fragmented impressions, like looking through a kaleidoscope.
I often show architectural monuments, including the social life taking place within, in various superimposed layers and conditions. Through reflections and fragmentation within the images, the viewer’s eye is being multiplied, inverted and divided in order to call into question the perception of cultural differences and their importance for the “present” and the “past” of our society.
My pictures reveal an ambivalent point of view beyond current clichés of architectural monuments and existing borderlines. In my photographs, the Orient and the Occident overlay each other, and are further changed by ever-growing globalism. Photography in this case serves as a visual hinge and an interface between these multi-faceted worlds where the space between East and West is either expanded or reduced.
/all photos © Frederic Lezmi/
For more on Lezmi and his projects, visit his official website.