When I first began this project, I was interested in the double meaning and ambivalence of the word “hearth.” On the one hand there’s the hearth as in “home,” protective and reassuring. On the other, there is the potential destruction of the flame, the fire that ravages and destroys. I could feel the term resonating strongly in me and that it was tied to my identity.
And indeed, my childhood was marked by a fire. When I was seven years old, my family’s life was turned upside down by an accident involving a fire, marking a strong rupture within our home and in our relationship with the land where we lived.
For this project I returned to the low-mountain village where I grew up in an attempt to better understand the violence that left such a powerful mark on my childhood and to reestablish a dialog with the place. I found myself confronted with the distinctive narrative force and possibilities for projection found in its harsh, yet beautiful landscape. Beneath their bucolic, postcard-perfect airs, the villages in this region hide a roughness, conceal tenacious scars, and a persistent harshness inhabits social relations. And yet this is also a landscape in which one can project oneself.
At the time of the accident, I had no understanding of what my family was going through, and over the years a veil of incomprehension settled between me and the accident. This veil now allows me to approach these places with my subconscious as my guide, following my own projections and fantasies, which over the past fifteen years have come to fill the gaps in my understanding of the fateful event.
All images and text © Juliette Treillet
By Juliette Treillet
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