BOOK of the ARTIST by EVA PETRIČ
GR@Y MATTER -
THE LANGUAGE OF SHADOWS
2009 collectors' limited-edition book of 83 signed and numbered copies, 1215 pages, 29 cm x 20 cm x 10 cm, hard cover, awarded with 2010 Vordemberge.Gildewart grant.
This book of the artist deals with the communication abilities of shadows which the artist translated into the language of emotions. Likewise, we are all endowed with shadows, whether we acknowledge this or not, we are all also endowed with emotions, whether we accept this or not. Both, emotions and shadows are equal to all human beings, regardless of cultural, social, linguistic, or any other differences. Parallel to our material existence, presented through chemical elements and molecules, emotions determine our immaterial existence. Shadows, when looked at, usually produce an association, connected to emotions. This is why the artist used emotions as the medium of the language of shadows. To codify it she borrowed the periodic table of elements from the natural sciences, where she replaced chemical elements with emotions, visually displayed by photographs of shadows. These, according to the artist, present the DNA of our emotional existence. The latter is not determined only by the so-called primal emotions, displayed in the periodic table, but also by the so-called advanced emotions or emotional attitudes. According to the artist these are the result of incubating emotions and they extend from apathy all the way to anxiety, further on towards intolerance on the one side, and to idealism on the other side.
Besides the 300+ monochrome analogue photographs, most of them manipulated in dark room, the book contains the statements on shadows by 50 people of different age, gender, profession, culture, social status and nationalities from all over the world, all responding to the artist's specific call.
SHADOWS&PUPPETS, the language of E@motion RE-acting Book of the artist, 2010, 29 cm x 22 cm x 13 cm, 8 kg, 700+pages, two pockets with texts, 161 black and white analogue photographs, 187 color photographs, 161 color and black and white superimposed photographs – visual aphorisms, pH scale of E@motion reacting, leporello of images daring to re-pick the apple, little girl golden yellow trail story, young boy email story, both echoed in a video Circling)
The purpose of this book of the artist is to explore the language of emotions. Emotions are nowadays often replaced by easily attainable clichés, instantly expressed visually with color digital photographs. Looking into what emotions are, I am most interested in all the possible ways of conveying them through photography. To explore them in this particular book I have constructed emotional landscapes - color staged photographs developed through a performance-like ritual aiming at overcoming the overall present clichés and reaching to emotions buried underneath. By accentuating them and at the same time counteracting them with echoes of clichés in the form of b&w photos of shadows, my aim was to create visual aphorisms - to overturn the cliché and with a b&w shadow functioning as a catalyst induce, or re-induce in viewers a real emotion.
The book is a hybrid by its content as well as its form. It is a hybrid of a literary story, switching between a fairytale and a contemporary email dairy. The text itself is a hybrid between image and sentences, spread out on paper of different colors and textures in ways where sentences form visual images. With the interplay of images printed on different materials (paper and transparent folia) and in different saturation, from color to black and white, and to black and white superimposed on color; at the same time depicting figures in their material forms of bodies as well as in their immaterial forms as shadows, the book enables viewers various ways of perception of its content. The mutual working of different textures of paper and gradations of color hopefully enables the viewer to see through cliché imagery, represented by saturated color images, into real emotion hidden within it.
The character of my color staged photographs is a puppet, unaware of its shadow - the real emotion which pulls the strings of the character making it a puppet. Shadows applied to the color images act as catalysts. Hopefully they enable reactions between the image and the viewer to occur. At the point of fusion, narratives overlap. A new dimension arises, showing the state where the shadow acquires characteristics of the body, appearing fleshier, and the body acquires characteristics of the shadow, appearing more ephemeral.
TO BE A PUPPET OR A SHADOW, TO BE A SHADOW OR A PUPPET
Selected for the exhibition: Book as art object II, National Library of Serbia, Belgrade, 20.12. 12. – 20. 1. 2013