Individual exhibition, until December 16th 2012 (catalogue available).

Robert Charlotte (Martinique) is given pride of place at the Fondation Clément. His photographic artwork is both poetic and committed, he depicts the tradition of pitts- places where rooster fights take place in Martinique. The practice of these fights is an actual tradition which could have been lost due to the demands of improvement of hygiene conditions in the pitts. But a cultural reflection has developed around the safekeeping and promotion of these places and of its owners.

With Véyé Lavi’w, Robert Charlotte takes us at the heart of the cock-fighting arena. Cock owners or breeders, animals, pitts but also fight lovers or even buyers are portrayed in the photographs. The photographer offers a beautiful panorama which is at the same time a documentary, an essay in the literary sense of the word and a journey.

Robert Charlotte, Véyé Lavi’w , Maurice Delivry dit Gros-Maurice, ancien propriétaire de pitt, meneur de séance, Le Lamentin, 2010 ©  Robert Charlotte

Robert Charlotte, Véyé Lavi’w , Maurice Delivry dit Gros-Maurice, ancien propriétaire de pitt, meneur de séance, Le Lamentin, 2010 © Robert Charlotte

« As a Martiniquan, I knew the existence of the pitts but I have never been there really. Right from my first session, a great emotion emerged from this universe.

No barbarity, no violence. A great humanity is anchored in the pitts. While I figured I would deal with a world of the past, I discovered a multitude of faces, old and young, feminine and masculine, which introduced me to the “liveliness” of the pitt. I was stricken by the expression of faces and I was confronted to tensions, worries and the dreams of everybody. An atmosphere of fans is conveyed where a social diversity is expressed. Whatever the financial ways of each, it is the spirit of the game that supercedes. Precious, elegant and modest, everybody mixes in the game. Only the technique and the know-how of the “teams” matter. While the cock seems to be at the centre of the pitt, its true value comes from the men who raised it, breeders, those who care for the animals and the stables. A set of gestures and signs take place in the pitt and are incomprehensible for the novice viewer. It soon becomes apparent that they have meaning and value.

Robert Charlotte, Véyé Lavi’w , Lucien Saxemard,  petit éleveur, Fort-de-France, 2010 ©  Robert Charlotte

Robert Charlotte, Véyé Lavi’w , Lucien Saxemard, petit éleveur, Fort-de-France, 2010 © Robert Charlotte

The fights not only take place in the arena but also on the benches. While the verbal clashes and teasing fly between the players, trust and honesty look over the bets. Nothing is written, everything is oral and no reclamation can be made. How can we pay homage to these men who make this place magical and who know how to transmit and enhancesuch human values? How do we transcribe these meetings through a series of photographic portraits ? »

Robert Charlotte 

 

On the evening of November 22nd 2012 at 7 p.m., a meeting with the photographer will be organised and a special visit will be held on Sunday December 9th 2012 at 10 a.m.

 

Fondation Clément, Domaine de l’Acajou, Le François, Martinique.

Exhibition on view every day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November 9th to December 16th 2012.

http://www.fondation-clement.org/martinique/205_veye-lavi-w-de-robert-charlotte

 

Headline picture’s credits : Robert Charlotte, Véyé Lavi’w , Didière & Eddy Hardy-Dessources, éleveurs et anciens propriétaires de pitt, Ajoupa-Bouillon, 2010 ©  Robert Charlotte