La Bruja (1999-2001)


The village of La Bruja is located in the feet of the mountains of the Sierra Maestra, along the oriental coast of the island of Cuba. He holds his name (in English: the witch), and his reputation, of a famous legend born in the thirties. In the heights, the inhabitants harvest the coffee, the malanga, and the other tropical tubers. Centuries of isolation and austere life profoundly marked their culture. Between 1998 et 2001, Alexis Cordesse made several trips to the remote village. The inhabitants accepted him little by little because he had something precious to exchange: images against their presence. As La Bruja began a slow metamorphosis, these photographs constitute a memory of a sublime and fragile world on borrowed time.


“(…) The photo is taken here, in a remote cuban village, but she could come moreover, of Africa or Oceania, as both cousins, Lurdes and Reina, under the blossoming tree. She shows us the naked man and ties him around the powerful light which he carries. From the Inhabitants of la Bruja, she makes archetypes of a time which passes and does not pass, of it distant internal about which spoke Henri Michaux. She reveals the earth which tans flesh and digs the looks. It is the opposite of an exemplary photo, a photo of current events, of the photo which passes. The inhabitants of la Bruja have no honor doubtful to be current nor ironed by the omnipresence and the indiscretion blasé about the other people’s opinion: they are simply there. (…) “

Philippe Lançon, in La Bruja, fixes tropiques, 2001