Like Water Under the Bridge (2018)
How does one tackle the Hidden, Forgotten or Abandoned when approaching a context to which these categories apply? Moreover, how does one do this using photography, a medium inherently imbued with the acts of remembrance and documenting.
The Danube segment that passes through Romania is ironically both the longest and the most neglected and poorly documented. A situation that, although has its roots in the poor management during the communist regime, has come to pass mostly due to the corrupt systems that followed, characterized either by incompetence or by plundering schemes leading to impoverished communities in the basin.
It is on this background that Like Water Under the Bridge operates, while being comprised of multiple processes and layers, each simultaneously enforcing and undermining photography’s customary role.
The first, the one that served as a starting point, is the restaging and capturing of a gesture that although seemingly banal puts into discussion exactly the aforementioned notions of hiding, forgetfulness and abandon – the act of waste throwing (in this case in the Danube or on its shores). Restaging it toys with the apparent immediacy offered in the frame, the flash’s hard light usually serving as the only evidence of the contrary. Capturing it has the power to bring forth the object, to make it a main character, to make its matter shine. A trivial plastic bottle can show its simple beauty, its transparencies or the play of light on its surface. This is, after all, the power of “vibrant matter” itself.
The same play of light and on the project’s recurring theme of presence and absence is revealed on another level, by photograms made using the thrown objects. Here imprint functions both as proof and lack thereof, and presence is certified by the absence of darkness.
Similarly, the landscapes from which the objects have been chosen represent hidden landscapes. Not accessible to regular tourists, known just by locals, belonging to the people of the Danube (to the extent that any piece of land can belong to humans anymore), these places too seem forgotten by Industry or Consumerism for now. A thin plastic veil is used in presenting these photographs, covering the landscapes, leaving the viewer to choose if or how much they want to see. The beauty of the matter and the flux and the flow of the river manifest here, as is the air – blown by a fan, giving birth to momentary forms.