Alliance Française de Singapour presents an exhibition of selected works from Singaporean photographer Melisa Teo’s latest book Les Arbres de Paris (The Trees of Paris).
French is one of the languages where the word “culture” is designated to both matters of the mind and of nature. This is evident in the dual love of Parisians for trees and gardens, as well as books. But trees must struggle to survive in a city. The city is generally hostile to trees, yet, it would be nothing without them. What would a Haussmannian boulevard be without trees? What good would the Luxembourg Gardens be if there were no chestnut trees? There would be no Paris without plane trees, lime trees and sophoras. Inhabiting an environment that is not natural to them, the trees of Paris, nevertheless emerge from the grind and grimness of city life, serene and tall, reaching for the light.
Just as trees need to be constantly cared for and tended to in order for them to grow in full glory, the human mind can unlock its full potential through constant learning. And trees do indeed resemble the mind as Voltaire famously wrote: “We must cultivate our garden.”
By turning her camera towards the trunks and leaves from which Paris draws its roots, Melisa looks for the spiritual link between man and nature. For this, the camera is needed: to recognise and retain what the eye doesn’t see – we can’t see the invisible, but we can photograph it. And by paying attention, we can learn from the most silent of beings living amongst us in this bustling capital.
Venue: Alliance Française, La Galerie, Level 2, 1 Sarkies Road Singapore 258130
When: 5 Nov 2020 - 9 Jan 2021,