FAMILY PHOTOS 

2014

PHotocollage, Installation with wooden frames and cabinet

From Brighton Based Visual Artist and Printmaker Moatzart

Looking at the Chapman Brothers I found the “Disasters of War” series whereby they had bought the original Goya prints and, however masterfully, drawn over them. As much as their gesture outraged me I was intrigued by the idea of ownership, by what money can buy and what the power of money is. I don’t blame them for their act of “vandalism” but a system that sets the parameters for it to be possible. The brother’s fascination with Goya has been long and intense and their sense of humor is garish. Even as an advocate for appropriation deeply embedded notions of greatness and value in the art aren’t allowing me to be comfortable with this gesture, as someone who still feels bad using the structure of a face from a magazine that is going to be changed beyond recognition anyway. I have never gotten such a visceral response from an artwork before and this intrigues me.

 

I, therefore, decided to “vandalize” what I could afford, that being old family photos. I kept three of the original ones used in the series to give an indication of the provenance of the images.

 

I am very pleased with the outcomes of this series and the most important aspect of it for me is the final display. As the series is called “Family Photos” the display simultaneously suggests an intimate birthday present for Mother’s Day as well as a shop window display where the photos inside the frames being sold are of unknown characters. These personal and impersonal suggestions concomitantly being reinforced is what pleases me most about the series. 

Mikhail Bakhtin recognizes the qualities of the carnivalesque as mocking life and more importantly mocking and thus escaping death[1]. This is characterized through celebrating the grotesque and the materiality of the corporeal, as a way of removing godly aspirations within this physical realm of existence:

 

“Bakhtin's concept of materialism, however, has yet another side too because the matter "embodies" cultural memory (in which all concretely realized cultural acts are represented), it becomes the guarantee for the continued existence of culture. The material and corporeal are named the manifest as such, they are what is really "real": what matters for Bakhtin is matter. According to Bakhtin, soteriological teachings and ascetic practices rejecting the body cannot be utopian because they are oriented toward the "end" of manifest materiality and reality[2].”

I ventured to find the end of this manifest materiality, the end of reality, through this series. 

 

[1] Renate Lachmann, Raoul Eshelman and Marc Davis. “Bakhtin and Carnival: Culture as Counter-Culture”. Cultural Critique. No. 11 (Winter, 1988-1989), pp. 115-152.

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1354246?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents, 11

 

[2] Renate Lachmann, Raoul Eshelman and Marc Davis. “Bakhtin and Carnival: Culture as Counter-Culture”. Cultural Critique. No. 11 (Winter, 1988-1989), pp. 115-152.

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1354246?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents, 13

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