presented by JOAN FONTCUBERTA
Born in 1955 in Barcelona. Lives and works in Spain.
Photographer, artistic director of the Rencontres d’Arles in 1996.
In early times photography was called ‘the art of fixing a shadow’; today a young and talented Slovakian photographer, Magda Stanová, reverses that expression and offers a vision of what we might call ‘In the Shadow of Photography’. This is the title of her current project, which I discovered last year in the Talent Latent exhibition, devoted to emerging artists and organised by the new photo festival SCAN in Tarragona. I immediately thought that her body of work deserved the widest recognition. Stanová makes an intelligent, heterodox reflection on the medium of photography by means of found photos, drawings and writings. She focuses on the way the appearance, democratisation and extension of photography has acquired a prominent role in our lives and has changed our social behaviour. We are confronted with situations which show how the camera provides us with the role of actors in a life filled with fictions and stereotypes. In sum, Stanová’s work seems to me a funny
and delicate philosophical survival kit for a better understanding of the influential, omnipresent shadow of photography.
IN THE SHADOW OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Art is for me a way to communicate a few little things I have found out about the world. These are usually banal details from daily life, in which resides hidden poetry. During six years of studying photography at art school my interest moved away from the ‘pure’ photograph and focused on the snapshots people take of family, friends, holidays, vacations and groups. Snapshots have an enormous value for the person who is either a part of, or somehow related to, the people or place which has been photographed. But how does a photograph get this value? Why is photography such a fascinating medium? In the visual essay titled In the Shadow of Photography, I attempt to answer these questions. The work consists of three chapters. The first searches for the specifics of photography; the second investigates the photographic world; and the third examines how people’s behaviour and thinking has changed since the invention of photography. The work includes such topics as photography as a time-travelling machine, why being photographed gives people stage fright, how the present is becoming a stage for the future, and how we lose the possibility of an authentic memory from the attempt to conserve it in a photo. These reflections are presented through the mediums of drawing, text, collages, photographs, objects, video and animation.