An­toine d’Agata is a saint. His saint­li­ness lies in giv­ing the power of speech to those whose photo he takes.

VOGUE Hommes International (English) - - DUEL -

One of the girls in At­las tells An­toine some­thing that no critic has yet dared to say – but you re­ally had to be there: “You told me that you were no more than a use­less wit­ness. You fed my plea­sure in my own suf­fer­ing. To reach me, you de­stroy your­self.” She didn’t say: “You fed your own plea­sure in my own suf­fer­ing”; she said, “You fed my own plea­sure in my own suf­fer­ing”. And sud­denly we have the words we were look­ing for to ex­plain why, with women, An­toine has al­ways sparked a feel­ing of trust that he never be­trays. And why it’s al­ways the guys who fear him.

Other peo­ple’s words are ev­ery­where in his lat­est works, par­tic­u­larly in a col­lec­tive ex­hi­bi­tion that opened at Le Bal in Paris on 11th Septem­ber: S’il y a lieu je pars avec vous. He uses as a pre­text a long mo­tor­way jour­ney from Paris to Mar­seille, where he be­came a butcher — slaugh­ter is a word that has al­ways had a painful res­o­nance for An­toine. We hear the di­ary of the girl trav­el­ling with him, the e–mails he re­ceives, the propo­si­tions he finds on the In­ter­net, and his fa­ther’s di­ary, when he left Italy for Mar­seille at the age of 20. In Paraiso, one of his lat­est books, one of the strong­est ('An­dré Frère, 2013'), he in­cludes bits of his own di­ary among the pho­tos of Val­paraiso. In it, he men­tions Ph­nom Penh in 2008, of course, his fa­ther dy­ing, his re­la­tion­ship with Ka, with Ice and his own per­sonal tor­ment. The months spent in the sti­fling room with the cracked wall, where he lived through some­thing, the first echoes of which are only be­ing heard now, six years on. That “some­thing” is the truth, if truth ex­ists. That truth that the women give him to un­der­stand is in­fin­itely cruel, cruel and gen­tle, but in­sep­a­ra­ble from the night. It is its out­come. If the night ever served any pur­pose, if night has a func­tion, it would be to bring down the wall that links us to se­cret con­scious­ness, or, in his own words: “The world is not made of what we see, but of what we are”.

VH

S’IL Y A LIEU JE PARS AVEC VOUS, an ex­hi­bi­tion of works by Sophie Calle, Julien Ma­gre, Stéphane Cou­turier, Alain Bublex

and An­toine d’Agata at Le Bal, Paris 18th, un­til 5th Oc­to­ber. AT­LAS, on gen­eral re­lease from 22nd Oc­to­ber.

VOGUE HOMMES

SAV­AGE NIGHTS Ho­tel room, in Écom­moy,

March 2014.

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