Along the crumbling wall, soon, the violet will bloom

2024, curated by François Cheval

Produced in residency at Borderline Art Space, Iaşi, Romania

With the support of Institut Français of Romania.

Inkjet prints, 60x70cm

    Between 1923 and 1926, an Armenian orphanage was opened in the village of Strunga, Romania, to host kids orphaned by the Armenian genocide. For the lack of funds and the diminishing number of orphans, the orphanage had to close. The buildings disappeared and the memory slowly got forgotten, if not for a few individuals trying to revive its memory.
  “In the footsteps of... What photographer hasn't at some point in his or her career taken a retrospective look at a particular object, close, too close? The danger of looking back is one that Lot knew the hard way, that nostalgia, that feeling of irrelevance that can turn you into a statue of salt. Rebecca Topakian, by patiently researching fragments of the history of the Armenian orphanage in Strunga, is certainly seeking to consolidate her identity, but she also wants to abandon herself to the chance of new perspectives.
    Fragments of architecture attest to a presence, the testimonies that underpin it. These fragments, trapped by nature, are nourished by the wandering souls of these orphans. This great Whole regenerates the passage of children to inscribe them in its history. They were here, they are still here! Not as ghosts, but as food for the living.
    Rebecca Topakian had a choice between two attitudes: one that minimises everything, to ward off her demons, or one that aesthetises. It's not so easy to be just right. Because we mustn't overdo the banal and the beautiful.
    From the sadness of the genocide to the emigration routes that lead to Strunga, the journey is long and, of course, hazardous. It's hard not to get lost, because what's left to see but the little white pebbles that history has left behind.
    Rebecca Topakian has simply taken care to fit together a few images, seemingly out of the blue, picked up at random.”

François Cheval.

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