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The Party is Over

© Charles Xelot

"Every day we see images of burning forests across the media, in newspapers and on television. Apocalyptic visions of wildfires. I had to create something to express my feeling of powerlessness and helplessness, mixed with the fascination I felt when in front of these images. I had to become an actor. Taking a plane and going on the field seemed absurd, so many journalist were already covering it. I didn't want to add some more images to the maelstrom. Moreover, taking the plane to a far distance to make a work about the destruction of nature and climate change is not logical if you can do it locally.

I decided to set my own fire. I started by finding abandoned and desiccated Christmas trees , and burning them. At the beginning I burned all the trees I found. The images were not satisfying, I needed something bigger, I needed meaning. So I looked for bigger trees and I decorated them, as if on the eve of a party, as if to prepare a loved one before his cremation. Before every shooting we were decorating the trees, like kids do with their parents. We all have very personal memories and feeling about Christmas celebration, about the gifts that we found under the tree. So this work resonate differently for each of us.

Then we set them on fire, photographing each execution. Photographing the absurdity of the destruction, and the waste of our resources. Each tree I burn is a manifesto, a ritual, an affirmation: the party is over.
- Charles Xelot

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