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  • Culture

    Ruinous Beauty

    By Frances Atkinson 26 March 2016
    Image – Pierre Folk

    WHAT is it about ‘the abandoned’? Dilapidated farmhouses, a lone brick chimney, ruins of any kind remind us of the past and instantly become intriguing. For Frenchman Pierre Folk who photographs disused railway lines it is partly about capturing a “metropolitan scar” that carries history. His exhibition By The Silent Lines is made up of haunting images that capture disused railways lines all over France and parts of Europe but a 32km track that surrounds Paris called La Petite Ceinture, is of particular interest.

    Constructed in 1852, the track was part of a larger network set to revolutionise Paris and replace the transport of the day – horse drawn carriages but when the cars and a more progressive underground railway was introduced, the track quickly became redundant.

    For 80 years the track slowly deteriorated but it never disappeared. Now several plans are underway to use its decaying beauty to full advantage and with inspirations including New York’s High Line designs, the potential for La Petite Ceinture to go from a forgotten symbol of urbanisation to an integral part of a vibrant city.

    Victoria has it own abandoned networks, including the picturesque Cheviot Tunnel a short drive from the Victorian town of Yea towards Molesworth. The two-year build during the late 1800s was fraught with delays due to strikes, floods and accidents (several workers were killed in explosions and rock falls). Today the tunnel, popular with day-trippers, exudes a peculiar mix of beauty and mystery.

    See Pierre Folk’s work here