Sibérie – zero + l’infini
by Armand Gatti
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Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 1958. First edition. 12mo large (20x14cm), printed card wrappers, with rough-trimmed leaves. 240pp and fold out map. Text in French. Slight rubbing to spine- edges. Contents clean and unmarked. Fine copy and even scarcer in this condition.
“We embarked – Pierre, Gatti, Vierny and me – at the end of August 1957 on an adventure …” – Chris Marker
In 1957, the group of Chris Marker, Armand Gatti, André Pierrard and Sacha Vierny was one of the first to travel and work in Siberia during the Cold War. Two independent works emerged from this trip – Chris Marker’s Letter from Siberia (1957) and Armand Gatti’s Sibérie – zero + l’infini (1958), which was one of the first Western reports on Siberia since 1917.
Armand Gatti, one of the most acclaimed theater playwrights of the 20th century, had already written eight plays and had received the Albert Londres Prize for his earlier work before pursuing a career as a journalist. Gatti came back from Siberia with eleven articles about the region, which were published in Libération, the underground newspaper of the Résistance movement.
The following year Armand Gatti continued to work on these articles, which then became the book Sibérie – zero + l’infini, accompanied by Chris Marker‘s photographs. Sibérie – zero + l’infini tells the story of the indigenous people of Siberia and their history, geology, economy and folklore, all of it intertwined with the ancient story of Siberia from old Chinese texts.
Armand Gatti provided with this book an important document on the region and its history, which also includes further background information on the development of Marker’s film Letter from Siberia.