Private Property / Propriété privée
Artist : Thomas Kneubühler
Edited by France Choinière
32 pages with 18 colour reproductions, 2006
Kneubühler’s photographs depict dark and deserted places. The only human presence in them are the security guards whose forbidding stance indicates that these sites are private property and who, by following our slightest gestures and actions, impose a structure of control. Parking lots, surveillance systems, lampposts, illuminated office buildings at night – places of passage, of transit – create the fascinating universe of Private Property / Propriété privée. The photographs were taken in Montreal, “in places where people should not be,” as Kneubühler says; or at least, in places where our actions have to adhere, at all times, to the designated function and rationale of the location.
The book exposes the impersonal, artificially-lit spaces within the modern urban landscape. These sites, although very familiar, are rarely questioned. Kneubühler’s photographs situate themselves in a zone bordering between access and intrusion, public and private, open and demarcated and reflect on the notion of territorial appropriation and more fundamentally, on the boundaries of our personal freedom.