Thursday, January 3, 2008
the absence of all colors (a ausência de todas as cores)
in Brazilian artist Ludmila Steckelberg's project "The Absence of All Colors," she has removed the dead from her family albums, leaving silhouettes behind. the resulting photomontages explore ideas of memory and loss.
i saw these featured in Lensculture, where Jim Casper writes: "The violence done to these photographs forces the question: Do we ever expect loss, or does it surprise us with its suddenness and thoroughness? Perhaps we do always anticipate it consciously or not, and perhaps that is why we make photographs."
i've often thought about how an almost physical sense of memory can be stored in a photograph, or at least triggered by one. as outsiders, we can't picture the faces, expressions or quirks of the missing Steckelbergs; the missing people function more like a graphic design element. but to the artist, i wonder how the experience of looking through the old albums is different...to remember not just the people, but how the people looked in those exact photographs, and then to see the familiar scenes with them removed...are the photos sadder? or are they easier to look at now? is the memory of their loss triggered more or less by the silhouettes?
the images also remind me a bit of Kara Walker's silhouettes, in reverse (and in a miniature of personal scale). the missing pieces tell the artist's stories through their absence.