Wuhan Radiography is a surprising work on a series of black and white analog images taken by Belgian photographer Simon Vansteenwinckel.
The first pages cast some doubt... The book's images seem real, yet ghostly. They are beautiful, too exposed, sometimes irradiated. It seems that he used a particular film. A filter or an ultrasensitive film ?
All the life scenes, urban places and characters are mysterious, as if captured between two universes, frozen between day and night. Here and there, a luminous halo hovers above the city, like an observing star.
Through his enigmatic modus operandi, the photographer creates a disturbing dismantling of our a priori. We no longer know where we are. The city is indeed that of Wuhan that has become famous worldwide.
But was it before or after the pandemic? When did the photographer get lost in that city? Has he ever been there?
The text of French philosopher and poet Johan Grzelczyk which accompanies the images makes us slip slowly into an artificial and bright night. His words follow one another, break off, hide under shadows while questioning our way of inhabitating a drifting world.
Such dystopian atmosphere questions our freedom of movement on an earth where distance no longer exists, shortened by technology, where fog is already taking hold of forgotten landscapes.
Like an echo of La Jetée by Chris Marker, Wuhan Radiography leads us to the discovery of a distant city, strangely familiar, which holds its breath under the threat of an immense sun. It resonates with our resistance, our ability to reinvent ourselves, to find new ways of living in cities.