Two photographs taken from the archives of the Czechoslovakian secret police and two photographs from a piece of mine called Broken Toys.
The title of this piece takes its name from a passage in Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet;
“We never know self-realization. We are two abysses – a well staring at the sky.”
For me, this quote describes the act of looking at a photograph, at people in the past who are likely no longer with us. I look at them from a time when they do not exist, and they look at me from a time when my existence was wholly unlikely. They are reflections left in the water of the well, and I, for the moment am the person looking in. The portraits in the work are from a single photograph taken in Vienna c.1938. The faces are mixed with images cropped from an aerial view of the Bełżec Death Camp photographed in 1944. History too is a well staring at the sky. Again in the well’s water, we see the sky reflected with some of its stars and all of its gaps. But no gap is truly empty and all the holes in what we call history are full of traces; the residue of a glance perhaps shared between two people.
To see more work from this exhibition, please follow this link.
Having bought a copy of a photograph (St. Giles Fair, 1913) from the Oxfordshire County archives, I found when looking at the individual faces someone I recognised. Not someone I know or knew of course, but a lady I’d seen in another photograph.
New images, 30 x 20 inches.