Ever since I was a child I’ve been in love. As I smile behind the camera I tell myself that this is my best asset. Love, as a lover I only love the lovers and I find nothing in no one if not for tenderness. Ever since I was a child I’ve been in love, and ever since I was a child I’ve been moving ahead.
« Il n’est quartier que tu n’y sois reine a? jamais de cette ville » – These are Aragon’s words, he writes about Elsa, his great love, and on the subway I think about it, about all the cities in which I’ve never seen anything else than my love for people, and the love people have for one another.
I am all the places where love gave birth to me. I am Paris, I am Prague, its softness and bitterness when I cried on your shoulder, I am the light in your room in Saint-Ouen, your restless dreams in your Lower East Side bachelor pad. I am the trains, the airplanes and the underground tunnels. There, I leave shreds of skin and I bring back parts of people. Messy beds and slumbering bodies, hands touching, lovers wrapped in each other’s arms.
When I capture the world, I can only reflect from the love that blossoms within. I collect life stories, love stories. We are prudish in love. That’s not something we talk about, the way we love each other, and how much. How we, faggots, dykes, and trannies fall in love, when the outside world beats us up. Now, I can say it: we love better than the others. We love better than the others because we know what violence and hatred feel like. We love each other more tenderly, because we know what it feels like to be in pain. In our beds we offer caresses, we touch each other’s skin, we leave traces. We love each other without drama, with a lot of burden, we marry each other because we think about the party we’ll throw, afterwards, because we know we’ll die sooner than the others, so we want it to last. We have one, two, ten lovers. To each we say I love you and each time it’s true, it’s huge, it’s unique in its multitude. We love better than the outside world, because we are our own home. We are all the places where we laid down our wounds, all the friendly grounds where someone mended them. We are all the arms that cradled us, we are our first love story, the last one, we become everything, because our love knows no bounds.
Je ne se?parerai point de toi ce the?a?tre du monde, ou? tout pour moi sera de toi parti- That’s Aragon, again. He talks of the world, which will never bear any other name than those of the ones we love. It will never bear another face. In our love stories that the world censors, in our numerous deaths, we are always reborn where love picks us up. Where it puts us to rest. Where it gifts us a truce.
All images are analog pictures, in 24x36mm format, shot and developed by Nanténé Traoré. All the texts that are unsigned, accompanying the images, were written by lovers, friends, who graciously offered their personal archives to give materials for the exhibit.
Thanks to them for documenting their tenderness. Those which are signed showcase different poems by the artists, or by poetry authors.
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