Monday, 2 July 2012

Traces - Julia Winckler

Working with Traces, Memory and Archives

I recently went to this symposium at the Austrian Cultural Forum, London. Three artists, presented their respective work within the context of their artistic explorations around archives, traces and memory. The main focus being the artist Julia Winckler and her work ' Traces '.

Winckler's works are related to two found photographs which she discovered within a suitcase in the attic of a family home. The photograph is both a very precise, authentic trace of someone or something in time and space - simultaneously its meaning is highly mobile.
Winckler takes the focus in close to some of the characters within the photos. This reminds me of Christian Boltankis imagery. Winckler claims the photos took on a ghostly feel as the faces lost their definition - the element of chance coming into play. She seems to be trying to get to know them. You get the sense she has a burning need to get more out of the surface of the photograph somehow.
The imagery was both haunting and beautiful. 

Downstairs in the gallery there were the sounds of recordings and the actual found suitcase on a plinth, and the documents, passports etc.The suitcase added a certainty and poignancy to this exhibition. It said, 'This really did happen'. 

Overall the symposium and exhibition was extremely moving. Seeing how a generation is still questioning and wanting to know the people who were taken from their family gave a whole sense of immediacy and bought questions about wars, situations currently happening in the world today. It also reinforced for me, just how important 'things' can be. Items and objects discarded from a tragedy take on a different meaning for the people related to them in particular, taking them on a perhaps unexpected journey. For me personally they keep the people close and the memories kindled.

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