O Album Desconhecido / Album Unknown
by Carla Cabanas
Sala do Veado
Museu Nacional de História Natural e da Ciência
Lisbon 2 March - 8 April 2012
four people around a table
intervention on silver print gelatin proof
paper 110 x 100 cm image 60 x 80 cm
In “Album Unknown” different eras, families, countries, are gathered.
It is a completely fabricated community – a memory, a history.
I don’t mean by this that it is not authentic or even that it can not deliver us a sense of familiarity.
The feeling that this set sends back evokes the Freudian notion of
‘das Unheimliche’ – something at once familiar and foreign.
In fact, ‘das Unheimliche’ could replace the word photography (light+writing); the fixed image can always summon this simultaneous occurrence of such opposite feelings. A time lapse expressed
in a fragment of a whole (history), isolated from its setting and
not anchored to a text, holds a ghost-like presence destined
to become a forgotten memory.
That special connection to memory, to history, is a much human characteristic. We turn to memory and history to find identity. History is made of text and image, perchance in equal amounts. And even though images are as easy to forge as text, images – especially photography – have that weight, that strong aura of authenticity. Images are as if conventions of certain evidence. “Album Unknown” then places us in this mist, of authenticity, familiarity and intimacy. We can, however, trace analogies (it is comforting) between photographs: repeated elements
(a window, a tree); the same people trying out their poses (around a table, on a boat); motives for taking pictures (a family trip, a photo to send the boyfriend). Relationships between images and the treatment
the artist has devoted them; the many evidence there documented up against what is outlined, erased or veiled create a narrative channelling the familiarity and the oddness of these photos to a shared plane.
Maria do Mar Fazenda, February 2012