Antiquarium, replay, 1997-2010
Photographs of a place that no longer exists, the Antiquarium of Mount Celio in Rome where, until recently, the debris of sculptures from antiquity that did not find shelter in the galleries or storerooms of museums were scattered outdoors like old cars in a junkyard. Drippings of boat resin, mixed with fluorescent pigment, anachronistic signs of fragmented time.
Like vampires, natural latex is sensitive to daylight. Exposure to ultraviolet rays causes drying, darkening and makes the latex sticky until it eventually falls into shreds. This organic material is so light sensitive that it is the last material one would use for reproducing photographic images.
It is therefore through a process of redundancy that the traces of its own attempt at conservation leave their imprint. More specifically, this series features two superimposed images: the details of an industrial site that I visited before it was demolished; and the remains of archaeological excavations that are not considered worthy of being displayed in a museum. An exercise in imitation: Piranesi’s Carceri d’invenzione.
Ex voto Remix, 2009-2010
Etruscan votive images gleaned from catalogues or post cards. These specimens — reminders of health problems or broken hearts taken out of their funerary context – displayed in museums, on coloured carpets and classified by category. Reused here, reproduced on glass, superimposed on paintings by SP, marked by Chinese stamps, without concern for their relatedness. Will we become play things once again?
After completing a project on identification photos of the last century (1920-1970), I began researching new subjects linked to the question of posing and portraiture. The mug shots that I reworked depicted people who did not wished to be photographed. But willing or not, they were actual subjects in the flesh who expressed something more than that for which they were photographed. It is that “something” that I attempted to capture.
The facial composites used by German police today, easily accessible via Internet, are photomontages. They depict no existing subject; they only depict a stage of memory. Though, they are photographs. The Unheimlichkeit (“eeriness”) of the photographic image seems to be two-fold here.
Despite the formal resemblance, these portraits lack the spark of life and the imperfection and asymmetry that distinguishes every human face. These figures seem to be cadavers with wide open eyes, cadavers twice. What could I make them say?