Mixed media on 20 photographic prints
All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt. (Susan Sontag)
The pictures I used for this work were bought at different flea markets, in 4 different cities: Lisbon, Palermo, Montevideo, Salvador da Bahia. I love to imagine that each of the unknown person in these pictures, despite the cultural and historical differences, had a life very similar - at the end - to my own: the same feelings, drives, desires, sadness. I see the personal and family portrait as a desperate cling to life amid the unstoppable stream of time.
‘Impermanence’ turns the portrait bottom up, unveiling the vanity of personal identity itself. The bourgeois dispositive for the preservation and construction of personal memory par excellence, is turned into a memento mori by erasing the main identifier (the face) and making individual identity disappear from these representations. The fabric of memory, the printed image, the still portrait, becomes then a sinister, anonymous –but still human – representation, revealing the fragility of our selves and, even more, of the memory we leave behind us. Everyone will eventually disappear, fade out, be erased by time and history. As the unknown persons in these photographs, our cherished individualities and personal identities will dissolve in time and leave little or no remembrance.