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In the morning of January 29th, I took the train to Arnhem to function as an external expert for Miron Galics’ graduation exposition. This took place at the ‘Typografie Werkplaats’, a place that I’ve heard of but never visited before. After a tour through the building, Miron took me to his exhibition space. In this room he presented framed photographs on white walls, accompanied by four A4 pages with text, which were glued to the wall with transparent tape. The prints were 10x15 cm, a classic format that emphasizes the personal nature of photography. Moreover, this size is specifically suitable for photo albums and allows to e.g. add a description, location and who are seen in the photos. Going through such a photo album gives the opportunity to relive a moment from the past. Since we can only undergo time and are unable to stop it, photos are the answer to our powerless relationship with time. It is therefore that I believe that we try to express our inability with time through photography. When going through such photo albums, you view several images per page, which are displayed in chronological order and usually include context. This concept portrays a phase in someones life and completing the process, to me stands for ending a chapter. The photos Miron exhibited never ended in a photo album but are in stacks instead. We view a pile of photos one by one while the photos easily slide through our hands. The ones you’ve seen for long enough, are placed back at the bottom of the stack and the next one appears on top. Over time, piles usually disappear in cupboards or drawers. The order of a stack may change, the photos get damaged or dirty and thus are less protected than in an album. No value has yet been attributed to it and seemingly, separate photos are more open to interpretation. All photos were taken with an analog camera, which means that physical effort was made in order to have these photos. Once full, the camera roll was brought to develop and later picked up. I always find this a touching method, also when looking at photos from my own youth and the realization that my parents made all this effort. Fifteen photos were shown at Miron’s space. At none of his selected photos a human is seen. The photos did illustrate sheep in a meadow, a homemade Lego spaceship with a clock in the background, the edge of a garden chair, a bouquet of roses with a postcard in it, a pile of wooden blocks that form a house, a painting on a mini table, a child’s drawing that was placed on a basket, a cloudy sky with the sun coming through, a planter with stones in it, a wooden tv-cabinet with a television inside, a rug with an old school telephone on it, a pot with plant, leftovers of a birthday cake in the fridge with six blown out candles, an interior with coffee table, a ceiling lamp with in the background a sofa, and a photo made in the zoo with a giraffe and deer on it. All these photos were taken by Miron’s parents the moment they arrived in the Netherlands after fleeing Bosnia due to war. They exemplify the most common things one can imagine. To me, these photos represent gratitude and tranquillity, and bring peace while watching at them. Miron said that the photos often display his fathers’ playful nature, an example of this is the photo of their telephone on which his father had put candle wax. I experience a sense of gratefulness by witnessing the tranquil sceneries. Moreover, it raises awareness of the simple things around me, and makes me realize they are worthy to capture. His work bears the title “In the end it’s nice to think we were actually quite normal”. It reflects the manipulative nature of photography, the complexity of time. Photography cannot express deep human emotions; human feelings can only be described or discussed. The pile of photos that Miron one day had found are the only tangible remains. Miron has placed four texts on the wall. Through recordings on his mobile phone, every text is supported by an explanation of where the project is about. Every time the text is slightly different while it is about the same topic. In photography, this happens too. The attached memories and its value changes overtime, and forever will while looking at the same photo. Miron also experiments with how much text he’s using and the amount of information it reveals. In addition, he tried to present the photos in an interesting combination. Personally, it is hard to explain why the combinations were good the way they were, but my attempt is to say it simply felt good to see an organized line of photos, side by side. They either emphasized similarities or showed a contrast. I like the naivety and openness in Miron’s work. I believe that art evokes a conversation, and to me this is the core value art has. Through his work, he discovered more about himself by having conversations with his parents, classmates or others close to him. I think that he felt the need to reflect on this crucial phase in his life, a phase that gave a definitive direction for his future. Being invited to carefully look at simple framed 10x15 cm photos in a time where an abundance of images receive us, seems an act of resistance. His work is only accessible to people who are sincerely interested. I love it when an artist dares to include an accessibility blockade. Solely based on simplicity, not making it prettier than it is. Consequently, people might not be willing to give his work a chance. On the other hand, his simple approach arouses curiosity, what is behind these everyday photos and why are they selected for a final exam exhibition?
mirongalic