Flying Houses

A project by Laurent Chéhère

By using the distance, Laurent proposes a different point of view and alert against preconceived ideas and prejudices. All the ingredients are there, comedy, drama, poetry, darkness, onirism, laughter and tears… Everything becomes entangled.

The Flying Houses are inspired by a poetic vision of old Paris, by Jules Vernes, Albert Robida, Moebius, Hayao Miyazaki, Albert Lamorisse, Wim Wenders, Federico Fellini, Marcel Carné, Jean Cocteau and a lot of others references. These buildings are also inspired by poor and cosmopolitan neighborhood of Paris where lives Laurent Chéhère. Through a tragic and melancholic report, they testify poetically and subtly of an alarming contemporary reality by revealing meanders and concerns of a class impoverished by the society, in particular the Gypsies and the immigrants. The author isolates these buildings from their urban context and releases them from the anonymity of the street to tell the life, the dreams and the hopes of these inhabitants. Technically, it’s a photomontage. After a sketch, he photographs hundreds of elements: roof, windows, gutter, fireplace, characters, antennas, graffiti and sky, then assembles everything with a digital retouch software on his computer. In gallery, the images are shown in large format and let the curious observer to discover details and hidden references of these accurate reconstructions by proposing a double reading, one by far and one closely.



Laurent is born in 1972 at the foot of the Parisian hill of Ménilmontant, a neighborhoods he explores with the same unceasing curiosity as he does in Bamako, Lhasa, Tokyo, Valparaiso or Srinagar. Early on his life, he was immersed in the images of popular culture. His father would make scripted holiday films with his Super 8 camera, his mother transmits the virus of drawing and his brothers was passionate by theater… and the young Laurent? He dreams in the atelier of his grand father Joseph, a house painter and typographer of a village in Normandy. To his young eyes, the place was extraordinary as Alibaba’s cave. Of course it’s not enough to be an artist but you never know!

Thus, he came to spend the last 20 years traveling around the world taking photographs starting with his own city. A veritable tower of Babel where you can meet the world crossing the street. These working class neighborhoods of Paris are his playing field, his principal source of inspiration, his own point of departure and arrival. It’s here in the places, where every street corner offers an escape through the foreigners accents, the spice perfumes, the orientation of satellite dish, that he discovered a passion for travel, and for people and stories from around the world. It’s there, also, where he returns to better tell these stories. And because his inspirations are numerous and varied, he chose to bring them together in these flying houses that carry their universe, their atmosphere, their history, everything that the artist wanted to put there, but also everything the public will want to see there.



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