The Discreet Silence of Colours

Monuments to amnesia


What do you photograph? For whom? Right now, where are all the photographs that you have already taken? Who would be interested in them? Shall they be in this world when you are no longer in it? And, if they are indeed, where shall they be? What power of statement over you do these pictures preserve for generations to come?

“The Discreet Silence of Colours” is the result of a survey carried out by artists Tatiana Guinle and Marcelo Carrera about the paradoxes that are involved as part of the relationship with photographic images, to which we devote the power of retainment of the memories of our own personal histories. All the photographs used in the works, as here present, were obtained from family collections that have remained in this world after they were neglected by the respective families, probably because the heirs of the heirs, at some point in time, would no longer recognise the people present in the images.

As photographs evidently survive longer than we do, at some time they start roaming aimlessly around the world as innocuous symbols, deprived of the very reason that led to their existence, and without any connection to the affectionate and family ties that were their very foundations. On ceasing to tell the story of specific people, they start approaching, with greater clarity, the sheer complexity of the relationship that we have with our own vulnerability. Photographs in the family album shall always preserve the sweet side of our lives: parties, births, trips, and rites of passage. The more dramatic moments such as pain and bereavement are rarely photographed and, in general, even when they are they do not get a place in the family photograph album.

This fabular, aseptic and somewhat misleading narrative of our lives ends up making all family photograph albums more or less the same. Therefore, when a given family photograph album gets lost and embarks on solitary travels throughout the world, it starts to show the cruel destiny that has befallen all other albums. Photography is a way of soothing the inevitable confrontation with death. Looking at a photograph of the past is one of the few chances we have to retroact, and also, for one brief moment in time, betray the natural flow of time.

As uprooted symbols, vestigial remains of stories now detached from linear narrative, these images may now be reactivated and reinserted in society, based on the artists’ imagination and questions. The maelstrom of photo prints becomes a kind of scrambled alphabet with letters missing, unable to pen a tale or a logical phase. The information denied by pictures is that factor that boosts the creative strategies of Guinle and Carrera.

The experiments here shown oscillate between vain attempts to restore stories of the past and the very acceptance of the impossibility thereof. Sometimes there is resurgence of the pictures, but not through the content contained therein, but rather through the exuberance of altered colours, textures, and by the exposed wounds that time and neglect have enforced upon the originals, as is the case with the series that has given the exhibition its name.

The obsession with creation of perennial memories can even lead to the construction of immense monuments to amnesia.

Who do you photograph for?

Eder Chiodetto - Curator