January 08, 2011

Absence Presence. The beginning and more. Part I

In December 2007, I was asked to participate in the exhibition/performances, Pulling Down, about the Shoa, or Holocaust, honoring the Day of Memory, held at the auditorium in Rome, Italy in January 2008.

I was staying in the neighborhood of the Jewish Ghetto and spent many hours walking the streets both in the day and at night in preparation for the exhibition. I sensed that the streets themselves would let me know what they wanted me to express - that I would find my inspiration there - since it was there where the Jews were forced to evacuate their homes.

Coming from a Jewish family, I was interested in exploring my origins and the historical events that took place in those streets during the Holocaust, from an artist perspective. From there, the exploration of absence and presence was born. Examples of this can be seen on my gallery page, entitled "assenza presenza" (absence presence), in the streets of Rome.

Prior to that I had been working, as if predestined, on a series I at first entitled "ghosts." And prior to that a series about "invisible realms." As more an intuitive rather than rational person, I'm interested in the invisible manifestation of movement that resides below the surface of knowing. In the process of creation, that invisible world shows me what is there and its gentle but guiding hand always comes up with more interesting and surprising results than I could have imagined. Obviously, the artist always has his or her hand in the creation and what emerges evolves from every individual artist's unique presence.

In my experience, one phase of work evolves from the previous, but my knowledge of it only happens after the work has been well developed. That's why I said "predestined" regarding ghosts, because when I was invited to participate in Pulling Down, it was the obvious (obvious to me at least) next step, though again, I only realized afterward how it was connected.

The invisible realms phase came out of a virtual dialogue I had with a stranger who had visited my website and whose identity remained hidden. His first email was so bizarre and ridiculous that I was about to delete it, but then, my intuitive self had the good sense not to, recognizing that the email was indeed a work of art in itself. I then documented the five months dialogue with this man, which eventually culminated in an exhibition in 2006, at Studio Fontaine, in Viterbo, entitled "Invisible Realms - Dialogue with a Virtual Prince."

Here is some of what I had written in 2006:

"There is an invisible veil between worlds that creates the illusion of separateness in our lives, however, when people and things begin to materialize from the fiction of one's art, the question arises not only about how everything is connected, but what is actually real and which comes first, fact or fiction? In terms of space, where does the hidden world lie: below, above, next to or as in dreams, inward? Does it matter or is it necessary to place it? Whatever the case there is still a vanishing quality even in the materialization of this invisible world. And the meaning that comes has a multiplicity effect within the ephemeral world implicit in the invisible.

The internet has opened up access to these invisible worlds, unbound almost, by time and space, it bridges the gap of separation between people and events. Yet, paradoxically, it is in itself, another veil that separates. In our technological and fast world, as our sense of isolation tends to deepen, the internet serves our biological need to connect."

My work with digital photography grew out of this virtual dialogue, where the computer had an outstanding presence. Coming from the tactile and palpable world of painting, it took me time to accept the computer and anything to do with its technology as an art form. However, once I allowed it access, it opened realms I hadnít considered.

At first, photographic images and words printed on film transparencies were integrated into my paintings. The digital photograph itself eventually became comprehensive and self-sufficient - with its highly sensitive play of light, texture and surprise - for my concerns with capturing the invisible becoming visible.

...to be continued.

Please check back,

Many thanks!

Barbara

Posted by Barbara at January 8, 2011 12:46 PM
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