Modu Magazine: A Tale of Urban China

New Way of Living – Sabine Delcour Photography Exhibitions

In recent years, Sabine Delcour mainly surveyed and explored natural areas, far from urban landscapes. However, she has maintained a keen interest in the inhabited territories; the ways we conceive them, the ways we build them and the uses we make of them. Considering that in our essentially urban world, to speak of the city is to speak of the human condition, Delcour continues to explore different cities in the 21st century.

 New Way of Living, her latest project, lies at the crossroads of contemporary social, environmental and societal issues. Here, large-format analog photographs of a vertical urbanism respond to images captured with a telephoto lens of digitized and ultra-connected cities, where the current health crisis legitimizes the generalization of tools for the identification, control, evaluation and isolation of individuals. Is this the prelude to a profound transformation of our societies?

From the ghost city of Ordos to the port city of Qingdao, via the central city of Wuhan, it represents in a formal manner the built landscape but also captures the anthropological dimension of space, a place for human experiences inscribed in new sensitive and relational dimensions. It sets up a device inspired by wildlife observation: to stand aside, to pass unnoticed or to blend in with the environment. She invests in the spaces she photographs by living in them and tracks down the surrounding eco-system from these watchtowers. To do so, she uses a telephoto lens that produces a modest image that questions its status and contrasts with photographs of residences taken.

The “habitus” of Chinese city dwellers like ours borrows essentially from the digital field. In an ultra-connected world, the boundaries between private space (the home) and public space (the city) have become porous. The connections between the city and men are now of a different kind, especially in the Chinese cities. The traceability of digital identities coupled with massive video surveillance is a mutating social order.

The link between physical and virtual space is changing in nature, the forms of public and private life are evolving, and the scale and speed of these transformations are changing the lives of individuals. A field of possibilities is opening up and perhaps a new human race is taking shape.

Delcour left China on the eve of Wuhan’s quarantine. This concomitance exacerbates this anthropological introspection.




New Way of Living


May 13, 2020 to March 21, 2021


Le Bel Ordinaire 

May 13 to July 4, 2020
Allée Montesquieu 64 140 Billère

Centre d’art Image/imatge
June 12 to September 5, 2020
3 rue de Billère 64 300 Orthez

La Vieille Église
September 19 to March 21, 2021
Rue de la Vieille Église 33 700 Mérignac

Arrêt sur l’Image galerie
September 19 to December 19, 2020
45, cours du Médoc 33 300 Bordeaux

The artist:

Sabine Delcour is a French artist born in the Gironde region. Winner of the Prix Moins Trente from the Centre National de la Photographie in 1994, she began her career as soon as she finished her studies at the University of Paris 8. Her photographic series take as a starting point the observation and the relationship of man to the landscape, whether it is urbanized, natural or wild. She frequently associates text with image, going out to meet those who live in the territories she shoots. Her approach, far from being documentary, stands out from the signified. She modifies space and gives it another dimension. Playing with the technical potential offered by her photographic chamber, Delcour operates with a view to opening the gaze to other perspectives. She sculpts the sensitive material produced by these optical illusions and thus bears witness to the relative nature of the photographic image and our perception of reality. See more about Sabine Delcour:

Former conference:

See the introductory lecture of Sabine Delcour’s work at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Paris, October 17, 2018: Autour d’Arthur Crestani & de Sabine Delcour, with Jérémie Descamps, Nathalie Giraudeau and Aude Mathé

  • 2020/05/13 - 2021/03/21

  • Billère, Orthez, Mérignac, Bordeaux

  • Le Bel Ordinaire, Centre d'art Image/Imatge, La Vieille Eglise, Arrêt sur l'image galerie