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barrage (1998)

15_rgb_1998_barrage_25_lessebo_29.jpg

Series of 56 photographs,
40 × 50 cm each

The photographic series Barrage emerged in the course of several stays in Paris. While walking the streets, Steve McQueen’s attention was drawn not to the historic façades or tourist attractions but to the gutter. Strange, string-tied bundles of rags, lying on the streets between sidewalk and traffic lane, form barriers (barrage) to channel the waste water from vegetable markets and shops into the sewer, an ancient and simple means used by Parisian street sweepers. The cropped and uneventful serial photography reveals how even the most unprepossessing things can be transformed into a visual event when seen through the attentive eyes of a viewer with a formalist turn of mind.