Talking to Andrija Lekic about his meeting with Wim Wenders in Berlin and now he is in Paris and looking at these photographs I cannot help but think Lekic's Kilburn is also like Paris - Paris, Texas that is. The middle of nowhere. no easy turf of Hackney or Dalston this, and you won't find psycho-geographic vibrations of place, whispers of histories, geographies or geologies here but rather an undiscovered territory shot through a bit of hard glass to refract back the West London daylight.
There's nothing new perhaps, in sifting, panning the streets for a subject, for a kind of sense-order in the disconnected ramble of an inner city living space. nothing new either, perhaps, in the language of urban realism cited here. we have learnt the grammar from Steele-Perkins and Parr among many others, though filtered through Lekic's eyes, in some of the images faint echos of the Balkans persist, for me at any rate. But always new, isn't it, a discovery of place?
But a photographer is surely motivated by desire, and in the case of Lekic an apparently unflinching one. but desire of what? London under the veil? I think rather, a desire to confront a subject which is so close, to manage the foreground so to say, which is the hardest thing. and if you can do it it is invariably the most shocking and the most impressive thing, because you might just manage to transform it, the everyday that is. and what could be better than that?
Looking at these pictures I had the desire to go there myself, to Kilburn, and to confront our moment, our city, our times - without comment, intervention, politics but also without the feeling of being an outsider, a voyeur. the best of these series are utterly neutral of emotion, but neither does Lekic present just an aesthetic. Instead, its that intangible thing called photography, so slim, somehow so shallow that when reduced like this, if we dare to do it, we are left with a sudden dread that in its essence there's nothing to it you see, so ubiquitous and accessible, so automated, so banal it seems as to be worthless. but then, at the last moment it re-emerges as it always does somehow, in Lekic's case out of that nowhere to find a subject, cropped and crystalised, accessible yet as astonishing as it can be, this photographic art of representation.