Cyprien Gaillard (b. 1980)
The Lake Arches (2007)
""The Lake Arches," shot in 2007, and which Gaillard describes as "a field trip gone bad," was a defining moment. His plan was to film two friends swimming in an artificial lake at the grandiose, Ricardo Bofill-designed housing project outside Paris. When one friend's impetuous dive into unexpectedly shallow water causes a head wound, Gaillard's camera doesn't flinch and neither does the bleeding friend. In that minute, Gaillard turned a vague desire to create visual poetry into a continuing confrontation with the landscape of human folly. Neglected architecture, urban decay, desecrated national symbols and civic disorder became the central themes in his art that reveals a universe where civilizations prosper and decline simultaneously.