Amélie Labourdette - Empire of Dust, 2015

Photographic prints on Dibond. Courtesy the artist and Thierry Bigaignon Gallery.

Amélie Labourdette - Empire of Dust, 2015

Photographic prints on Dibond. Courtesy the artist and Thierry Bigaignon Gallery.

Amélie Labourdette - Empire of Dust, 2015

Photographic prints on Dibond. Courtesy the artist and Thierry Bigaignon Gallery.

Empire of Dust

Photographic prints on Dibond, 2015

Courtesy the artist and Thierry Bigaignon Gallery

For the series Empire of Dust, French artist photographer Amélie Labourdette went on a photographic quest to Southern Italy and Sicily, where financial crises and embezzlement by the Mafia have created extraordinary landscapes of incompleteness and ruination.


Through this ‘archaeology of the present’ Labourdette proposes an unsettling reading of our times, so much so that it feels almost like a mutant version of our own world. Nothing has been altered though, just concrete skeletons photographed in a dense, shadowless atmosphere, amid the lush vegetation that threatens to swallow them.


The massive, puzzling structures are crudely made from one of the roughest, most emblematic materials of our times, concrete. Their status is infinitely complex: they are unexecuted projects of the past, unforgiving witnesses of the present and already remains for the future.

Amélie Labourdette

Amelie Labourdette’s photographic work interrogates what is located underneath the visible landscape. The landscape is part of our collective and individual memory: it reflects history, eras, civilizations and our imaginations. By questioning the notion of territory, and associating anthropological analysis with the subjective poetry of images, she seeks to photographically unveil these underlying spaces, to reveal multiple strata of identities and temporalities of a landscape. The artist questions the documentary, fictional and aesthetic values induced by her photographs, defining her work as ‘Archaeology of the present’.

Amélie Labourdette lives and works in Paris. A graduate of Fine Art from the National Fine Art School of Nantes (Les Beaux-Arts), she is a recipient of numerous research and production grants. Her work has been shown in exhibitions in France and abroad (United Kingdom, China, Georgia, Italy, Germany), and is included in public and private collections. Since 2015, she has been carrying out various artistic residencies in southern Italy, Tunisia (Gafsa) and the United States (Marfa), which have enabled her to develop her photographic projects. In 2016, Amélie won the Sony World Photography Awards in the category Architecture, with the photographic series Empire of Dust. Then in 2017, she was awarded the CNAP grant for Support for Contemporary Documentary Photography for her project, Traces d’une occupation humaine, carried out in the Gafsa phosphate mining basin, at the gateway to the Tunisian desert.

She is represented by Thierry Bigaignon Gallery, Paris, France.

Related Exhibitions