Prints That Never Dry, 2019

“An Active Grasp” is a study of photographs as objects that are able to convey memory. Looking at personal objects that became embedded in the artist’s own identity, this work brings attention to how they are later approached as objects of affect. It measures their value against their past and the memories they touch on. As photographs are perceived as memories rather than objects, “An Active Grasp” looks at what happens when that process of instant recognition is interrupted by the conditions of the print: when the print itself becomes so unmanageable that the sentimental value of the subject of the photograph becomes obstructed. Through experimentation with photographic material, the print is made to act as memory subject to processes of forgetting: it is fluid, lacking details, and susceptible to change. As the paper won’t absorb the pigment from which the photograph is made, it becomes unfixed. The wet surface reacts to the environment and collects dust. This distortion triggers the viewer’s interaction with the image: as something that is not just transparently given, but which requires retrieval. Looking at such photograph then becomes an active grasp, when only the shapes suggest what the objects might be. Unsharp and obscured, they function more like memory-images than everyday photographs.

An Active Grasp received a commendation from Photoworks and a Photoworks Graduate Award Runner Up in June 2019

 © 2019 Ola Teper

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