Standard delivery 3 to 7 days
Publication date : 2023/03/15
Weight 998 g / Dimensions 16 x 23.5 cm / 480 pages
The Mirabel farm has been in the family since 1920. Jean-Louis Gleize took it over in 1993, when he was 23 years old, and Nina, his niece, was 3. Before them, the farm had been passed down from generation to generation, with many siblings working the 22 hectares of land in the Ardèche. Jean-Louis and Nina are the only two who still work the land. The others have gradually left the countryside for the surrounding towns and a different life. She is a photographer and researcher, he is a dairy farmer. There are also 90 cows that produce 2.5 tons of milk per month, sold to a multinational to make yogurt. It is a farm that is neither very big nor very small. There are also fields, woods, paths, fruit trees, a family cemetery, a small lake, a residential building… a list that suggests that the farm is much more than an anonymous industrial facility.
In 2016, Nina Ferrer-Gleize began her research work, which she continued for four years, and as many summers spent at the farm. Several elements are at the origin: the enigmatic presence in the bedroom of a reproduction of the painting Des glaneuses by Millet, but also, in a time jump, on her uncle’s desk, drags the contract that binds him to a large multinational and that he refuses for the moment to sign. An act of inertia and a silent gesture of resistance. Spanning the twentieth century, Nina Ferrer-Gleize’s research will focus simultaneously on the representations of the peasant world in the nineteenth century through photography, painting and literature, and on the daily life of a modern farm, which is written discreetly, sometimes in spite of itself.
From the intimacy of the two protagonists, we will learn only a few things, we will not see the interior of the places of life, the photographer will not yield either to the clichés of the photographic pathos, the psychological portrait or the rural nostalgia. If Jean-Louis and Nina are present in some of the images, it is never from a personal point of view: they are like actors in the work they are doing and in a social and family history that they continue.
Her uncle becomes, if not the author, the accomplice of this artistic work, as when she equips him with a GPS that retranscribes the movements of his body every day.
Her movements then inscribe her presence in the territory and come to draw by another metaphor of the photography and the mechanical recording, such hieroglyphs, enigmatic matter of the writing, the line of the traversed way.
If he delays for many reasons to sign this contract with the industrial giant quoted on the stock exchange, he writes and signs daily, by his presence, his movements, his gestures, other pacts with his territory, with his animals, with the earth…
In another series, an old agricultural tarp serves as a makeshift photographic background. In front of it, the inventory of the farm’s old and current tools will scroll by: tools with handles, mechanical tools, machines, humans too, when the artist photographs his uncle from behind, seeming to carry on his body the stigmata of work and on his shoulders the weight of thousands of objects, stones, tools, buckets, that he must constantly, in an eternal recommencement, lift with his arms, load or move.
Nina Ferrer-Gleize’s photographic work thus unfolds as a rhizome at the heart of these heterogeneous objects, familiar, theoretical or real, which she brings together and converses with, in the fragile links that underlie them and the dialogue she establishes—like the one she maintains with her uncle, thus replaying the mechanisms of the passing of the family baton and of a secular transmission.