Staged demolitions of grand townhouses fill the photomontages of Nantes-based Alban Lécuyer’s ‘Downtown Corrida’. The imaginary implosions ignite a dialogue on urban time, positioning historic establishments to appear just as precarious as the high-rise housing projects of the suburbs.
The symbolic nature of the city is a dominant theme in the work of Alban Lécuyer, and his photography is ultimately inspired by American realism. His first series, ‘Downtown Corrida’, acts as a visual narrative, exploring the relevance of old architecture in the contemporary landscape. Using digital techniques Alban creates his halted scenes of destruction by superimposing historic buildings mid-collapse, against the background of a modern suburb. Curious onlookers survey the scene, witnessing the downfall of the traditional to pave the way for homogenization. The deliberate staging of the destruction of these buildings reflect on the undetermined fate of the architecture, giving visual form to Alban’s question, “How long before a complete change of our surroundings?”. Alban compares the scenes of ‘Downtown Corrida’ to that of spectators watching a bullfight, he explains, “There is the symbolic space of the bullring (the safety perimeter), the expectation of the deathblow (the countdown to explosion), and the carcass of the beaten animal (the rubbish). At the end, the audience generally applauds and the images of the demolition become a part of our collective subconscious.”