In all art projects that I undertook in recent years, I focused on two phenomena – on one hand, I dealt with private and family sphere; on the other, I dealt with a role of photography as a medium in the process of memory and in the process of collecting archive material.
Using the language of staged photography, I recreated moments of everyday and private life, treating it as an event in itself. It consists of typical successive actions which imply those moments during which a person is occupied by its own being and self-assured in relation to a fact that it is not being watched. Characters on my photographs give away an impression that they are occupied by everyday situations. Those, in turn, apparently imply some events which would take place outside the frame.
In this quest for the universal inside personal and familiar, space takes a major role – courtyards, rooms, and kitchens became some sort of stage, and the photographed people some sort of actors (all of them together involved in drama of everyday life).
On the other hand, I have been interested in photography as a sort of fictional image. According to Christian Metz, every image is a fiction because it witnesses about the absence of things which are captured on it. In case of film and photography, fiction can work only subconsciously, because when we watch a documentary film or photograph, we are convinced that we are in the field of real.
My research moves along these lines – between a document and fiction. Displayed situations seem familiar, but they are, at the same time, superficial precisely because they are not, in their content, analogous to reality. Everything on them is invented, created, even though it gives impression of a document.
Fragmentary quality of photography gives us an opportunity to manipulate with space which takes place outside frame, thus by looking at photographs we actually make an impression about a moment which precedes taking a photograph or about something which will take place in near future.
Family albums and family archives have a major importance in creating our own identity. The way we remember is actually a sort of framework or a sort of coordinate system in creating our personal, social, or cultural identity. Photography has a pivotal role in that process – in a way, it teaches us how to remember.
Based on other people’s memory, I made my own. I document it with the aid of photography, in a form of photo-essay – emotionally processed and digested. By photographing myself in a role of a close cousin who tragically died half a century ago, I actually examine my relationship towards her – for me, she is a character from the memories of others.
According to Marianne Hirsch, memory of events which we did not experience first-hand, but appropriated them from other people’s memories, is called postmemory. Those events are some sort of suppressed trauma which shifts from primary witnesses to secondary ones. In this case, photography is some sort of discharging of suppressed contents, a connection between the past and present.