Karolin Klüppel a vécu entre 2013 et 2015  dans le village Khasi de Mawlynnong dans l’état indien de Meghalaya où un système matriarcal très particulier existe. La plus jeune des filles est donnée comme première dans l’ordre de succession. Lorsqu’elle se marie, l’époux va dans la famille de sa femme et les enfants du couple reçoivent le nom de la mère. Dès lors et particularité rarissime: seule la naissance d’une fille garantit la continuité d’un clan.

La photographe allemande en a rapporté des images magiques où le réel semble, pour un regardeur occidental, se mêler à l’imaginaire. Moins qu’à un souci documentaire (même s’il est loin d’être secondaire) Karolin Klüppel reste à la recherche d’une photographie pure qui doit autant à son langage qu’à son sujet. Symboliques à leur manière ces photographies offrent le passage d’une réalité présente à une réalité qui tord le cou a pas mal d’idées reçues.

Wanda at the stairs to the treehouse

Wanda at the stairs to the treehouse. The treehouse is a public viewpoint for tourists in Mawlynnong. Because Mawlynnong is considered the cleanest village in Asia, it attracts many indian tourists. Two families built this treehouse and charge 20 rupees for a look. From the top you can see Bangladesh. Every child in Mawlynnong loves the view © Karolin Klüppel

Prosperity at the river of Mawlynnong

Prosperity at the river of Mawlynnong. In the summer time, the children spend here most of their afternoons swimming, catching fish and washing laundry © Karolin Klüppel

Anisha with Kwai

Anisha with Kwai. Eating Kwai, that means areca nut served with betel leaf and lime, is a big part of Khasi culture. Most Khasi are addicted to it. Is it also a common item you will be served when you visit any Khasi family © Karolin Klüppel

Yasmin holds a rooster

Yasmin holds a rooster. She loves to catch and play with it after dawn © Karolin Klüppel

Nebadas food cupboard

Nebadas food cupboard. No family in Mawlynnong owns a fridge, thats why they have to cook every meal fresh, especially in the months of summer when it gets very hot in the village © Karolin Klüppel

Phida, 9 years old, is playing with a balloon in her bedroom

Phida, 9 years old, is playing with a balloon in her bedroom. She is the oldest of three siblings © Karolin Klüppel

Steam. A girl takes a bath at home

Steam. A girl takes a bath at home. During winter season, when the air is fresh, the parents will boil water for their children´s bath. As no house in Mawlynnong has running water at home, the water comes from the many wells in the village. For a bath, they heat up an urn full of water in the fire. Then it steams a lot © Karolin Klüppel

Ibapyntngen with beetles

Ibapyntngen with beetles: the children love to catch these beautiful green bugs in late summer © Karolin Klüppel

Surgit une théâtralité particulière qui acquiert un pouvoir physique non de survivance mais de surréalité. Elle est aussi l’interrogation constante des relations entre ce que la culture mondiale impose et ce qu’une culture particulière peut proposer. Les photographies deviennent des puits d’émergence d’une logique où une emprise subtile crée la remise en question fondamentale des notions de culture et de l’image qui en deviennent la porte-empreinte. C’est sans doute pourquoi la poésie à l’œuvre dans cette série a toujours quelque chose à « dire » et à dévoiler.

Anisha near the window after she took her daily bath.

Anisha near the window after she took her daily bath © Karolin Klüppel

Grace wearing a string of dried fish as a necklace

Grace wearing a string of dried fish as a necklace. Before the winter comes and there is no more fish in the lakes, many Khasi dry fish to eat during winter season. They dry the fish on bamboo sticks in the sun © Karolin Klüppel

Theodora in her sunday dress

Theodora in her sunday dress. All the inhabitants of Mawlynnong are christian and the sundays are spend in church. Most of the inhabitants are very strong beliefers. Every sunday, the villagers wear their best clothes. It is usually the only day of leisure, the working days are from Monday to Saturday (what you can also see here: The walls are turned black over the years, because most houses in Mawlynnong have no chimney) © Karolin Klüppel

Yasmin taking bath at the river of Mawlynnong

Yasmin taking bath at the river of Mawlynnong. Sometimes the water stops running in the wells for some days. Then all the villagers take their daily bath at the river and the water gets very milky because of the soap © Karolin Klüppel

Ibapyntngen playing. In Mawlynnong

Ibapyntngen playing. In Mawlynnong, Khasi often sleep with mosquito nets because there can be insects in the homes (holes everywhere!) © Karolin Klüppel

Yasmin with mug. No house in Mawlynnong has running water

Yasmin with mug. No house in Mawlynnong has running water. Those urns are used to carry the water from the dwells and to keep it fresh © Karolin Klüppel