“Photographs curdle like milk, says Roland Barthes. If, for Sally Mann, photographs are treacherous, it is because they are ‘the malignant twin to imperfect memory’. They cannot tell the truth, despite all claims to the contrary.” – Ashraf Jamal (excerpt from the essay ‘Eucatastrophe, Hannalie Taute 2021)
I work primarily with the captured image. Altered, reimagined and reinterpreted. Using mainly vintage photographs sourced from flea markets and even from my own family archives, which are used as is, or blown up to a larger scale. Altered with tire inner tube inlays and hand embroidered detailing drawn with thread. My work is populated by people, masks and sometimes floral arrangements.
“Appearances are a construction, a merging from the debris of all that has previously appeared” John Berger
These discarded remnants of the past are reworked, and their treatment of these remnants are at times ghoulish and macabre, imbuing the work with notions of identity in terms of culture, heritage and society. A re-stitching of historical narrative of sorts. The surrealism of conflicting customs and traditions sutured, like stitching up a wound or incision, reminiscent of an autopsy.
These portraits by losing their identities, have the chance to become something different. They tell a story of distant colonies and traditions taken across continents to an unknown land. They depict a society based on precise rules alongside an extreme nature, in a country where politics and society are difficult and often painful topics.
The black rubber, by framing the images gives an utter dystopic connotation to these contemporary treasures of a past far gone.
Text used as titles, are like the photographs- found and reconfigured and appropriated as a narrative. I am interested how simply changing the text underneath an image can radically altered the image’s message.
What is shown and what is hidden becomes interdependent elements of visual storytelling, thus “a new fantasy emerges in a world clinging to the need to believe in the magic of innocent aspiration.”