Geoffroy Mathieu

 L’Or des ruines

Exploring an alternative mode of subsistence in suburban areas, L’Or des ruines follows gatherers in search of natural products, on the margins of cultivated areas or in uncultivated spaces. Whether for precarity or to have a more direct relationship with nature, the practice of gathering, however marginal, is for Geoffroy Mathieu an opportunity for anthropological observation. New economies are woven into these damaged landscapes, drawing what could be a new sharing of resources, a new way of living in a common world. Here blackberries, cherries, mushrooms, herbs or medicinal plants are among the happy discoveries that can be gathered alone, in groups or with family.


Through his images, Geoffroy Mathieu draws up portraits of these gleaners in action, to use Agnès Varda’s title Les glaneurs et la glaneuse. The set shows a variety of plants and knowledge of them related to gathering: Sina collects the white companion in Villiers-le-Bel, Emmanuelle St John’s wort in Bondy, while a Chinese family in the park of La Courneuve knows how to value the shepherd’s purse, and Jying and Yuannyan recognise bear garlic in Orsay.

Like in the titles of fables or tales, the characters designated by their first name interact with the plant they have come to collect. Gradually, the images build a narrative that follows paths along the edge of a field, along a low-maintenance fence, near a major road or between the railroad tracks.

A diverse group of people emerges to make another crossing of both the urbanised and natural space, motivated by a goal that redistributes the points of interest and offers an alternative vision of the means of subsistence, in generous margins.


Listen to the words of the artist

Geoffroy MATHIEU, born in 1972, a graduate from the École nationale supérieure de la photographie d’Arles, lives and works in Marseille.

His work questions the way in which ecological and political questions are concretised in the landscape. Through the protocols of journeys or immersion, alone, in groups or in pairs, he documents mutating territories, intermediate zones, and reveals the poetic resistance deployed in places.

In his quest to understand the ways the world is inhabited, he now directs his research towards the representation of human or animal experiences that displace our relationship with the living. Whether they emanate from commissions from communities or institutions, from residencies or personal initiatives, his series are conducted as poetical investigations. The encounters with reality that give rise to the images are enhanced by placing them in relation with a rigorous documentary preparation. By using the mobility of photography, always both document and fiction, he builds situated narratives.

He shows his work in books (Éditions Actes Sud, Poursuite, Filigranes, Zoème, Wildproject), personal or collective exhibitions, or more recently, in the form of performances. His works also reside in French public collections.


H 12

Chiostri di San Pietro | Laboratorio Aperto




Chiostri di San Pietro
via Emilia San Pietro
Reggio Emilia


opening days
28th of April › 19-23
29th of April › 10-23
1st of May › 10-20

from 3rd of May to 11th of June
Wednesday, Thursday › 10 - 13 / 15-19
Friday, Saturday, Sunday and public holidays › 10 - 20

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