East to East
Klavdij Sluban walks through the abandoned cities of the East. Where have all the inhabitants gone? Is anyone left hidden in the mist, is there some poor wretch on the run or with their back to the wall?
The photographer presses on, in search of people, beyond Europe, advancing into Asia, Russia, Mongolia, China, on the Trans-Siberian Railway, but he finds no areas of dense population. Everywhere it is the geography that dominates, rendering human beings insignificant. Lake Baikal, in Siberia, the deepest lake in the world and the richest in oxygen, is an unseeing eye to those on the passing train.
One photograph is a portrait of our times, the face of a woman with her lips parted to kiss nothingness, caught in a mirror image. She is turning and is divided forever. The whole of the East looks in this way towards the West. Its speechless gaze is the mutest of the whole collection: it offers and invites a greeting – and silences the onlooker.
About the Artist
Klavdij Sluban [France, b. 1963] is a French photographer of Slovenian origin based in Paris. Although he held a Masters’ degree in Anglo-American literature, little by little, he gave up teaching to commit wholly to photography. Since 1995, when not abroad, Sluban has run photography workshops with young offenders in prison. By offering us pictures of those places he is familiar with and of their inhabitants to whom he is a true partner, Sluban unveils the problems of closed spaces and constrained horizons.
In 1997, his work ‘Balkans Transits’ was awarded the RFI (International French Radio) prize; he was also the Winner of the Niépce Prize (2000) and of the Leica Prize (2004).
His works are collected in many museums, including the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, The Metropolitan Museum of Photography of Tokyo, Museum of Photography in Braga, Portugal, Shanghai Art Museum, China, and Reggio Emilia Museum of Art, Italy.