Under the surface ????
Over the nine months I spent in Europe, I photographed windows through veils of fabric and paper. Like snapshots, they can be viewed as a fragmentary chronicle of a journey, or a narrative of personal transformation.
The images stand as a metaphor of the process of disintegration and re-formation of the “self”. For me, they speak of that time when identity reaches its crisis point, a personal lacuna, when it becomes clear that the old “self” is in the process of irretrievable dissolution and the new “self” is not yet formed. I stress disintegration, rather than deconstruction, as it is organic and inevitable, not intellectually structured.
Once lost, identity is slowly rebuilt, a process that is at once familiar, but discomforting. It is a process that is endured throughout life, forming a continuum to our existence: identity is never really fixed, it continues to be reformed by life experience and our contact with significant others – until it becomes (self) evident that (self) identity is the process, not just an outcome.
This duality of disintegration/re-formation is an essential feature of my own existence, reflecting my Polish and Australian lives, and is represented in my previous works (Interior/Mieszkanie, Carmen Infinitum). In the current series, the contrast between the “interior” and the “outside” is reinforced by the physical structure of the installation: the “interior” representing present identity (where I am from and where I look), and the “outside” representing the possibility of a transformed self (as a reality which can be observed and deduced, but not yet experienced).
Placed between the interior and the outside, the window is at the same time a promise, and a limitation. These images, like the windows they represent, should be looked through rather than looked at. The viewer approaches the image/content from all sides, making encounter both more personal and more elusive.
This personal and intimate approach carries the viewer beyond the first glance (which may only register the textural abstraction of the primary layer of the image) into a deeper experience of the installation. The process of this encounter echoes the identity transformation which the images represent.
Veils placed between the lens and the photographed space blur the images. As well as heightening the sense of mystery, the veils obscure the outside so that the promise beyond the frame is hinted at rather than precisely defined. Only the window frame and penetrating light are visually certain, expressing a limitation on how completely the inevitability of change, disintegration and reconstruction can be grasped.
Basia Sokolowska, October 1994
Under the surface ????