Francois Beaurain is a self-taught and multifaceted artist working predominantly as a photographer, but he sometimes extends to drawing, collages and sculptures. We featured his pioneering work with gifs (so-called cinemagraphs) on his most emblematic work “Monrovia Animated”, a collection of lively and poetic animations. His recent project is Les Villas.
Les Villas is a still and moving photography project focusing on the borderline between city and the country side in Morocco. This project capturing the ephemeral instant when country side is turning into city. It is at this place, at that moment of unstable equilibrium that strange and absurd, but sometimes beautiful elements appear in the landscape. Sooner or later, the city will move a step ahead and will fill the gaps, and everything will be back to normal.
The switch from an urban and vertical to a horizontal and rural environment is quite sharp, it is literally a break in the landscape. The most characteristic element of this landscape is the nail house, the first house to be built in this Sim City like spaces. In Morocco, the recourse to red paint make these nail houses look like contemporary art structures. I really like the minimalist esthetics of these cubes that contrast in shape and color with their close environment.
These specific spaces have also their inhabitants. There are domestic animals, those who haven’t been chased yet and the machines that slowly replace them. Both animals and machines can only coexist for a short period in this space, sooner or later they will move further. I decided to depict those inhabitants with animated gifs in a way that they seem like fantastic creatures, almost mythological monsters.
The name Les Villas is a kind of ironical. With this project I am not showing the truth. Instead of denouncing the environmental and social problems Morocco is building there for its future, I am turning my gaze away from reality and I am trying to find some beauty where you’re not expecting it.