New Work: I Choose To Remember/Forget

 

I've been making some new images as part of a new series and I've also been stepping outside of the image to make some pieces that are an extension of past projects. I like to work slowly and patiently and I'm okay with the notion of taking years to complete a project, or putting it to sleep only to wake it up  again later.

 

From early on I've made work that is self-narrative. At first I focused on my family and my transition to the States, later I focused on my relationship and the subsequent end of it. I also photograph my sister as an on-going project and have focused on my grandmother. In a way all my work presents the history of my life, and all of these people and events continue to inform who I am today. Even those who are no longer in my life are never forgotten.

 

After my breakup I relocated to Seattle and continued to make work about this time in my life and formed a project called Sentiment. As you grow apart from someone your relationship to the notion of that person changes. After I recovered from my break up I stopped making images about myself and took a break from making images all together. Later on, as I settled into my new home, small things from my past (journals, letters, photographs)  started to appear as reminders of a time in my life I was trying to move on from. I decided these were pieces of evidence, proof that we existed. I documented them as such, starkly on a white background like evidence from a crime.

 

 

A year later, last month, I got a package in the mail from my mother. She was renting our house out and didn't have space for my things anymore. As I went through documents, memories, and pictures I stumbled upon a stack of photographs of my ex partner. I had choice, do I keep them or do I throw them out? Do I choose to forget or do I choose to remember? Do I keep them in a drawer hidden away? Because I sure wasn't going to display them. It really got me thinking about our choices, about memory, about all these fractions that contribute to our emotional constitution and the makeup of our character.

 

 

The phrases "I choose to remember" and "I choose to forget" kept circulating in my head. I knew I wanted to get rid of the images printed on the paper, but I didn't want to get rid of the physical photographs themselves, I liked what they stood for. So I mounted the photographs backwards so that only the backs of them can be seen. Only I know what exists on the other side of each sheet, the floating blank images serve as a reminder to never forget. I started thinking about Robert Rauschenberg and his "Erased de Kooning Drawing" piece in which he erased a Willem de Kooning drawing and called the blank sheet of paper his own work. Willen de Kooning intentionally gave Rauschenberg a drawing that he would miss, because he liked the idea; there is something a little masochistic about this act, and I feel the same way about these pieces. They do not represent the moments living on the opposite face of the photographs, but rather the memory as a whole. I like the idea of the non-image, specially when knowing, in this case, that there is in fact and image but we just can't see it. It charges the work. These works are equally about choosing to forget those images and choosing to remember the moments lived.