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Sylvain Maestraggi @ Zoème

Sylvain Maestraggi: The streams of Athens
October 20 to December 3, 2022

Opening Thursday, October 20 from 6 p.m.

“In 2019, Sylvain Maestraggi begins a photographic work on the rivers of the agglomeration of Athens, nicknamed by its inhabitants: tsimentopoli , the city of cement. Located in the catchment area of ​​the Kifissos River and its tributary the Ilissos, Athens experienced extremely sudden urban growth in the 20th century which wiped out the old agrarian landscape and the forest massifs. In this process the many watercourses were channeled, covered, changed into boulevards or sewers. They are now barely legible in the urban landscape. The Kifissos, the main river, which flows in a deep ravine teeming with vegetation, below market gardening, among the maze of roads, business areas and residential districts, has thus transmitted its name to the highway that covers it. If the city has been confronted with atmospheric pollution for a long time, it is now confronted with climate risk. Areas of potential renaturation and factors of seasonal flooding, rivers occupy an unresolved place in the ecology of the city. The exhibition restores these photographic explorations which bring into play the way we look at the urban context and the place that nature holds in it, both as the surviving form and force of a vanished landscape, of an underground geography, and as a utopia of a reconciled world where housing would no longer destroy the natural environment on which we depend. From this point of view, Athens has a double symbolic value: that of being a city of foundation – at the origin of “our civilization” (the Ilissos river, covered in the 1950s, was for a long time the place of pilgrimage for travelers and painters, who came to find the decor of Plato’s Phaedrus there); and that of a modern capital, entirely born of 19th and 20th century town planning and its consequences. Sylvain Maestraggi’s photographs are accompanied by various texts and documents (maps, reproductions of paintings, vernacular photographs) putting the history of the rivers of Athens in the perspective of other urban rivers, such as those of Los Angeles, studied by Mike Davis and photographed by Robert Adams, and the Jarret River in Marseille.”

8, rue Vian
13006 Marseilles

Location: France, Marseille Type:

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