My work is a fictional documentation of my younger self, reconstructed on visits to a place that means a lot to me. I’m working with Susan as my model. We’ve been out and about again after a few weeks break. I’d been getting dispirited: no light, freezing cold, very tired, in a hurry. Result: bad work. After a rest we are back and I’m more relaxed and Susan’s got her poise back.
I’m enjoying the process of choosing her wardrobe – at first I gave her my old clothes to wear but now we swap clothes a lot. That is really weird when it works. We look quite similar from the back and all my clothes fit her perfectly.
I’ve got a new, better, camera as my old one packed up after our last shoot. It’s slowing me down a lot, which is great. I’m composing my shots much more carefully, questioning whether the shot does make Susan look like a younger me. Also I’m much more alert to distractions in the picture. So I have to act as a stylist as well as photographer: yesterday we were asked whether we were in fashion, which was quite flattering. The only problem yesterday was that in the space of a few minutes the sky had gone from blue to grey and the light went flat.
I visited a couple of shows in Barcelona that resonate with the work I’m doing. Palestinian photographer’s Ahlam Shibli work is about the concept of home linked to resistance, and one small piece of work in her current show at MACBA is about places that remind you who you are. Self portrait references Guattari’s work on the production of existential territories:
Where do you feel familiar, at home, what paths do you retrace without thinking? This is a realm before or beyond signification, it’s about an animal’s touch with the land, sheer sensibility, where language collapses in to the skin. The territory is your living space, your cruising range, your neighbourhood or worse, your fortress, your bottomless black hole. It’s the experience of pacing, of wandering, like a dog in the back yard, like lovers on a bed or teenagers on the street, like a baby exploring the body of its mother. The territory is the object of an “existential grasping” whereby a inchoate subjectivity tries to hand on to something, to mark off a boundary, to open up a world. But this territory is only virtually real: it opens up the space for an existential choice of materials, it provides the substance of expression .
Matteo Rebuffa, in Dos Viajes, currently at the Pati Llimona, is on a rather different journey:
Every journey has two opposite directions: the physical displacement and internal path. Universal and abstract topics such as absence, memory and death are joined in a circle of self consciousness. My grandfather’s volunteer trip to death is the reason that motivates me to start my own imaginary journey into my childhood – adolescence. Through the camera, I find the physical void left by him and find myself (again) with my memories. At the same time, my grandfather wants to fill the emotional void left by his wife, my grandmother, by attempting to rejoin her in death. Journeys meet, intersect and feed off each other.
As for my own work – I’m enjoying it but still finding elusive the light that will lift the work from the literal to the metaphorical, telling my own story but at the same time constructing a more universal narrative.