Contact Sheet 149: Tracing Memory
Paperback: 48 pages
Publisher: Light Work (November 15, 2008)
The images in this catalogue explore what makes a thought become a memory. According to Miriam Romais, who guest curated the exhibition, “The most emotionally laden experiences persist, and those left untouched, most likely become memory traces … fragile and ephemeral.” The artists chosen for this exhibition create photographs that look at the idea of remembrance–letting go and making sense of past events, and using those memories to understand who they are today.
Angie Buckley, growing up with a mother from Thailand and a Caucasian American father, did not know her family history for many years. She relied on the conflicting memories and stories of relatives to piece together her heritage. Her images are created with a pinhole camera and cutouts of old family photographs, resulting in work that lies somewhere in between the real world and imagination.
Pedro Isztin’s color portraits metaphorically integrate formative childhood memories, using them to heal the adult that child has become. Part of a larger series that emulates a life journey, Destino III: Transformation revisits, in Isztin’s words, “the pain, joy and suffering that our psyches are stamped with, no matter how little or large those experiences as a child.” The subjects of Destino III were a combination of old friends, family, and strangers. Each of the models provided an intimate photo which connected to them to their past. Pedro then continued the theme and manipulated each scene to convey the subject’s greater connection to the world.
Cyrus Karimipour revels in the flexibility of memories and uses his images to visually recreate them to depict how he remembers an event or encounter. In his series Invented Memory, he creates scenarios by heavily manipulating his negatives and rearranging their fragments to then be re-photographed. His imagery becomes ambiguous, as if looking in on someone else’s dream.
Paula Luttringer faces her own traumatic past by infusing her imagery with the testimonials of other women about being abducted and held captive during Argentina’s Dirty War. Luttringer was twenty-one years old and pregnant when she was kidnapped and interred by the Argentine militia. She was held in a secret detention center for five months before being released and forced into exile. Lamento de Los Muros (The Wailing of the Walls) consists of large black-and-white images, which depict the interior of the detention centers where thousands of people were held, tortured and “disappeared.” The images capture both history and memory.
This catalogue includes an essay by Miriam Romais.