Antoine d'Agata: Codex-Mexico 1986-2016
Over the past 30 years, French photographer Antoine d’Agata (born 1961) has undertaken various journeys in Mexico. As a photographer, d’Agata tends to focus on societal taboos like addiction and prostitution, and embroil himself directly in these darker parts of human nature. “It’s not how photographers look at the world that is important,” d’Agata has remarked. “It’s their intimate relationship with it.” This book is a record of the photographer’s Mexican travels, a tense, immobile diary of his experiences in the devastated landscapes of an increasingly volatile criminal society. Still images, cinematographic narratives and texts make up a personal diary that, through intimate, sexual and narcotic encounters, constructs an increasingly sickening reality. Mirroring his journey as he wanders through a lonely and marginal world, d’Agata’s photographic language seems to fracture and degenerate page by page. As a whole, Mexico presents a complex, difficult portrait of a period that has been constructed as a time of lawlessness and criminality in Mexican society. D’Agata structures the book around six photographic movements, relating directly to different times in the contemporary history of Mexico. These chapters suggest ruptures in the continuity of history, even as D’Agata creates a narrative of descent into pain and savagery.