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Quai de Javel

Iñigo Salaberria


A dock in the river Seine, in Paris, becomes the site from which to look at our surroundings, from where to quietly observe all that is around us. The water of the river will end up turning everything that is physical and static in our field of vision into a moving image, charged with strong emotions and distant from that which it reflects. Quai de Javel reveals paths from which to abandon the meaning of the physical.


The Quai de Javel was documented by Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1932. In that photograph the focus of interest was in the ragmen piling up their sacks at this site next to the river, a site now marked by the disappearance of the Citroën factories. Salaberría starts with the sacks as well, to then create a sea of colour textures that he offers to the spectator.


The physical material that Salaberría sifts through his video is turned into an abstraction. The sacks become objects within a visual composition, the factories become lines in the image on screen: from the material in the dock we are taken to the constructed in the buildings. At the end, all the images blend together in the water. It is then that bright colours stand up, colours that stem both from modern architecture and from the tradition of working class labour. Here we have an exercise of liberation of the image which we have seen in other works by Salaberría, such as Disdirak.


A soft, and at the same time, emotional music score accompanies the visual process, taking the spectator to an almost abstract gaze.

Technical datasheet

  • Title: Quai de Javel
  • Direction: Iñigo Salaberria
  • Production: American Center, Paris. 1984.
  • Duration: 00:10:25
  • Original format: Betacam Digital
  • Formats: Betacam Digital - DVD
  • TV systems: PAL
  • License: Copyright