Saturday, 16 May 2009

17 [16 March 2009]

Yesterday I started another collaboration with a photographer friend (Chris Webb) who is going to organise a joint show of work made at the camp for the Wirksworth Festival.

I was quite shocked to find most of the huts on Ilot F (the section reserved by the Conseil General for the memorial) to be rubble - the result of a huge storm we had on January 24th, winds were over 100 miles an hour. The hut from which Peter Watkins and I projected my videos has disappeared, the yellow wall photographed by Peter and featured in post 12, 2nd Dec has also gone. Most of the Red Cross hut has fallen, including the painted 'red cross' and the word 'Entrée'. The school room, with children's murals, is now also rubble - I am pleased that I had the opportunity to photograph these before the storm.

I don't know if it can be described as a morbid fascination or not, but I found the afternoon inspirational. As I guided Chris around the camp the aroma of thyme filled the air as we trampled across the scrub - I went with the intention of drawing tree trunks for a new series of paintings but ended up photographing sun shining on the decaying walls of one of the still-standing huts, painted yellow again with fissures revealing white lime, new and old graffiti and crumbling plaster.

Some of the graffiti was recent ('tags' made since this part of the camp has been accessible to budding Basquiats) but some looked pre-60s and older. I discovered a small drawing of a couple wearing striped tunics - could this be from the war? I need to do more research. In fact I have just ordered a book of photos which were taken here during 1942 and a book of records from that period - lists of those held at the camps of this area and those who were sent to Auschwitz.

I made a short video of the shadow of a tree rhythmically moving on the wall which was a glimpse of beauty amidst the heavy oppression of the past.

Chris took lots of photos as night fell, illuminating the exterior of the red cross hut with a torch, the result was suitably eerie.

We popped in to a bar on our way back - the atmosphere was subdued, it wasn't until later that we realised France had just lost the rugby to Les Anglais.


Top: 'Tree shadow, hut interior, ilot F', March 2009. Photo: Jonathan Moss.

'Graffiti, interior wall, Ilot F', March 2009. Photo: Jonathan Moss.

'Graffiti, interior wall, Ilot F', March 2009. Photo: Jonathan Moss.

'Chris Webb at work', March 2009. Photo: Jonathan Moss.

Bottom: 'Ilot F - Crumbling Hut 20', March 2009. Photo: Jonathan Moss.

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