Samuel Gratacap (1982, FR) has been collecting the stories of the migrants he meets in Tunisia, Libya, Italy and other countries since 2007.
Based on the testimonies of the people he encounters, he retraces their paths through Europe and Africa. His work examines the places that mark migration routes: the border crossing points, the waiting rooms for day labourers, prisons – but also the pathways to a new identity.
Gratacap goes beyond the scope of most news media, encountering deplorable situations that reveal the economy around migration, from human smuggling to slavery. His photography occupies the middle ground between art and photojournalism to reveal the on-going humanitarian tragedy of a system that maintains itself through a vicious circle.
Foam presents a selection of Gratacap’s works made in various locations over the last ten years, from Lampedusa to Tunisia, Libya, and back to Europe via the Italian mainland. The exhibition comprises both photographs and videos, as well as audio excerpts. The works show Gratacap’s reflections on the connections between geopolitical decisions, economic interests and money-making schemes in the form of human smuggling and slavery, and the direct impact this has on the people involved. Although the artist adopts a research methodology, his photographic approach to his subjects is sensitive and intuitive. Since his first series, Gratacap has continued to create projects that follow from his constant travels. In addition to the series Empire (2012-2014), Foam also juxtaposes a large selection of both previous and more recent series and video works, some of which are being displayed to the public for the very first time.