Between Folds / Paris 1831

Paris and its Environs by A. Pugin & C. Heath. Two Volumes. Jennings and Chaplin; London 1831.
110 x 140 cm
2012

Trying to piece together the etchings of Paris and its Environs as a true map, Francisca struggled to place many of the street names. The date of the book, 1831, turned out to be the foil; with the following year came the June Rebellion and led to many of the city’s Rues and Boulevards being renamed. Reconstructing the map became a puzzle of discovery and detection, placing magnificent buildings in their rightful place to form a record that flickers with the intensity of a moment in time. Arched windows and imposing facades summon the streets of Paris, their majesty gilded in gold by the fold of the page. Shadowy eaves shift by angle to the grand expanses of columns, pulling us in and out of dark corners as the city’s lifeblood, the Seine, swells through its crevices. All build to Paris’s unequivocal accent; a l'accent grave spoken through text that spreads across the centre of town. Looking closer, the Parisians themselves betray the narrative, as long barges slip secretly under watery caverns and soldiers in their bicorn hats raise swords on horses, rearing violently on the cobbles of the silent and rebellious streets.