COLLEGE FERNEL 2016
College Jean Fernel Project 2016. Clermont de L’Oise, Picardie, France. I was told the college was built in 1930’s. In the style of Bauhaus design, the only secondary school in Clermont de L’Oise had had 1400 students studied at the same time. The building has been abandoned for 12 years since the college was closed. What amazed me is its size. It is indeed a big school in a small town. I wonder all citizens in Clermont could have studied in this secondary school.
Frankly, The style of Bauhaus design is too tedious when we read it nowadays, but it represents history, a revolution in design and the world had been influenced. I look at the traces what people left, I read the marks what people did. Through the interiors and exteriors of the architecture, it is the vestige of heritage, of history. It is also the collective memory of the Clermont’s citizen.
I try to document the relationship between the college and the community with my photos. It is a part of the human culture not just in a small town, but also in France.
I created this series of work during my four-week stay with Diaphane in France in 2016, with supports from the Alliance Française de Hong Kong and the Hong Kong International Photo Festival.
I found an abandoned school in the neighborhood attractive and exciting, where time seemed to be frozen — the natural erosion, the dead bodies of birds, the discarded furniture, and the graffiti… I couldn’t help taking photos there from nine to six for two weeks.
With a 4×5 large-format camera and color negative films, I recorded those natural or artificial traces calmly and objectively, as a witness to history and culture.
In 2018, more than twenty photos were selected for a solo exhibition at the Photaumnales Festival in France.