Page 13

territory and on the threshold of monochrome. In both cases, colour and unexpected forms invade the physical reality, in an ephemeral but sufficient duration to determine the image of this territory—actions and occurrences that incite a certain sensation of strangeness, that have the ability to remove the boundaries between the real and the unreal, between known and unknown, reinforcing a disturbing ambiguity, as if they were emanations of a hypnagogic state, the altered state of consciousness, intermediary between vigil and sleep, in which the individual is more available to the irruption of other frequencies of vision. In fact, in some of the images in Hendu, the suspended character of the image does not allow us to understand if the sand clouds will dissipate or if, on the contrary, they will increase, gain shape, until the moment when it will be impossible to distinguish the horizon, and, consequently, to understand what has happened to the earth and to the sky—at that time the world will be a vast almost white plane, like a screen. From Rutas Negras to Hendu, from Laal to Khorom, Paula Anta’s imaginary composes a very broad spectrum of ways to discern and question the landscape as a subject and as a visual experience. In her work, the image is never a simple reality. Photography emerges as a field of operations, of relations between the visible and the sayable, a way of playing with similarities and forms, with identity and with territorial disparity. The photographic image is assumed as a fundamentally paradoxical, dialectic and hybrid representation, as something that concentrates a series of contradictions, which call into question our visual faculties and our inability to organise the forms of the visible. They are images that reflect the world of appearances in its inextricable doubts, not allowing the landscape to stop revealing its banality and strangeness, its evidence and counterevidence, its truth and its fiction. — In strictly visual terms, Paula Anta’s photographs stand out for their remarkable simplicity. It is as if the subjects presented themselves, without artistic mediation. Paula Anta’s intention to establish a consistent and productive congruence between the type of places and the type of photographic approach is evident. From the outset, we recognise an approach that refers to formal parameters of documentary photography, which seeks to maximise the descriptive and objective faculties of photographic capture, that is, it is motivated by the primacy of technical precision, the clear and sharp construction of the image, and the dismissal of any kind of posturing whether stylistic or relating to perspective. They are images that refocus the sense of photography, because they assume the extraordinary capacity and competence of the camera to intensify our intelligibility over a space, a territory, a landscape. We can then simply say that Paula Anta starts from the conventions of the objective image to seek the widest and most fruitful subjectivity. And that her images are unstable, which is certainly a quality, because it is a question of ensuring one of

20

the expectations that most inspires artistic practice, the opportunity for a different, extensive and «obtuse» look (in the sense given by Roland Barthes), capable of mobilising in the viewer that which they deem as most subjective, sensitive and projective. In Paula Anta’s photographs, the referent witnessed, the specific subject, the here and now of photographic capture, do not form the most important part. It is fundamental to think about what the image awakens, the value of its presence, the resonance that emerges from the photography. These are images that take effect in the plane of reception, as a peculiar block of space and time, reminding us, as Thierry De Duve says, «that despite its indexical nature, the photographic sign does not allow us to theorize it in semiotics, without the phenomenological, and even the existential, sticking to its skin, so to speak. In the image, the real emerges not only as a reference, there, but also as existence, here.»3 This entire way of doing and thinking photography allows us to situate Paula Anta’s work within the framework of a clear trend in contemporary image practices in terms of the allegorical, theatrical and cinematic, literary and philosophical, as categories strongly connected with poetic expression, with the speculative and fictional exercise, with the value of the uncertainty of the works, the call to reflect, as forms and legitimate (and necessary) means of representing and challenging our experience of reality. What this tendency foreshadows is, in some way, the need to free the image from an evaluation made by the «gauge of being», of similarity and of the true—simply because the image is never true—in order to accentuate its fundamentally dynamic character, its character of mobility and manifestation. To ascertain the dialectic between visible and invisible, between material and immaterial, between the real and the virtual in the image, involves accentuating the powers that manifest themselves in the reception of the image, namely from the experience of the time(s) of the image, because as Marie-José Mondzain says, the image «is neither an object that exists outside of us or far from the world, nor a more or less transitory state of our subjectivity. It cannot exist without us and it is through it that a world arises. It is the manifestation, before us, of the free play of reciprocal disappearances between the world and us. The annulment of the subject and the object does not cause the image to fall into the non-being, but it does establish the temporality specific to the relationship of the image. The image is not in space, it has to do with time»4. Another singular quality of these images is their relationship with time. Each photograph signals a moment suspended in time, but in this case the stop is never sudden, unexpected and accidental. The snapshots seem to be the corollary of duration, of waiting, of a gradual and slow formation. Here we can see to what

3  Thierry De Duve, «Pose e instantâneo ou o paradoxo fotográfico», in AAVV, A imagem cesura, LisboaPhoto , Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Lisboa, , p. 4  Marie-Jos. Mondzain, Homo spectator, Paris, Bayard, , p. 

21

Profile for Centro de Arte Alcobendas

Paula Anta: Wanderungen  

Catálogo de la exposición de Paula Anta, "Nudos: topologías de la memoria", celebrada en el Centro de Arte Alcobendas, del 22 de mayo al 24...

Paula Anta: Wanderungen  

Catálogo de la exposición de Paula Anta, "Nudos: topologías de la memoria", celebrada en el Centro de Arte Alcobendas, del 22 de mayo al 24...