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©Les Nivaux, Cross the Scan - S21, photograph 7x3.60m.

Cross the Scan is a connection between a moment of history, the work, the exhibition space and the public.

Cross the Scan - S21, the work is the exact “scannophotographic” replica of the floor of one of the torture rooms of the S-21 prison which served the genocide of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Imposing by its size (7x3.60m), Cross the Scan-S21 is also impressive by the emotion it confers and the seriousness of the subject addressed. S21 is the most infamous prison of the Khmer Rouge revolution in Cambodia in the 1970s. Based in Phnom Penh, the building housed a high school, a place of education and awakening of young minds before becoming a place of fright, detention, torture and execution.  For almost 20,000 prisoners only 11 survivors.


It was during their visit to Phnom Penh of the Killing Fields and finally of the S21 prison that the artists could not remain insensitive and above all simple visitors. After 15 days of waiting, they have the authorizations and the work can begin to scan the whole of one of the torture rooms of S21.

The Nivaux spend 2 days watched and confined in the 25m2 of one of the torture rooms, in this place "which gets in the guts". 16 hours of emotion, to scan the floor of the torture room. Barefoot and the glass plate of the scanner turned over on the floor, the artists move it 238 times to digitize the entire room. They then assemble these 238 scans into an image of 26 GB and 7x3.60m

©Les Nivaux, Photos & videos traces of the scan session in Phnom Penh in the S21 prison, 2016

Cross  the Scan


Cross the Scan is a connection between a moment of history, the work, the exhibition space and the public.

Printed at 1:1 scale, it is an exact photographic replica of this soil, witness to the worst human cruelties, it is like an open book and the scanner has memorized every mm2 of it. The power of this work lies in its authenticity, in this ability that the scanner has to deliver reality to us as it is in its rawest truth. It brings to photography a tactile dimension and extreme precision capturing the smallest details of the material.

Cross the Scan is a connection between a moment of history, the work, the exhibition space and the public. Printed on a special non-slip adhesive support, the photograph is intended to be stuck on different floors around the world, at 1:1 scale. Les Nivaux speak of photoportation. A dialogue begins between the work and the floors on which the artists decide to stick it. A superposition of stories, a new story... The very choice of location influences the meaning and scope of the work. Exhibited in the courtyard of the Historical Library of Paris , Cross the Scan – S21 confronts culture and education with bloodthirsty totalitarianisms, anxious to wipe the slate clean of the past, thus creating a tension that underlines the value and the role of archives, history and memory. This practice of “photoporting” places and creating photographic territories is gaining momentum in their artistic approach. What is at stake here, in their photography, is not contemplation but more of appropriation, isolating to better talk about it, extracting from its context to better root it...


Cross  the Scan



Press kit - WHITE NIGHT PARIS 2017



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