I call these images I’m presenting here Canticle. I hope they touch your eyes with the intensity and clarity of song. I hope this canticle, made of the portraits of a woman, can raise the commonplace of the private experiences that took place into something sublime.
Looking at a photograph of his mother, Barthes described it as an extension of theater. An enactment of time that is gradually lost. Photography reduces the present to a fraction of a second, about to be replaced by another. It describes a perishable world. That is what I feel when I look at Atget’s photos: life without eternity, fragmented and printed on paper. Daniela’s image is not part of this melancholic cycle/circus. It has the eternity of a fable. Her face becomes a drawing while Daniela acts like a painting, her gestures reproducing daily life even before they are captured as images. She acts out sleep, servile work, and remakes life as pure form (the copy of a copy produces an original). Existence, this meaningless story full of sound and fury told by a fool, is retrieved in the fable, gaining new meaning with metamorphoses. Every fable presents a metamorphosis.
One fine day, Daniela found a book on the Pre-Raphaelites in a second-hand bookstore. Leafing through it, I was reintroduced to this aesthetic, a charismatic influence from my formative years. We decided to adopt it as our guide. Daniela was morphed into a Pre-Raphaelite painting by Burne Jones: a Mexican, an Aztec crushed by the Spanish metamorphosed into a Victorian aristocrat. Nobody is anybody’s when life imitates images. I photographed her at home, and the sheets, floor cloths, boxes, and hairbrushes gradually became part of a fiction, like golden eggs or beanstalks growing up into the sky. I try to be makeshift in the photography sessions as if it was a game made up to while away the afternoon. There are two kinds of photographer: professional and amateur. The former photographs in a studio and the latter at home. I like the results of amateur photography: its commonplace is important. Without planning or realizing it, in our methods we have something of Julia Margaret Cameron’s photographs. Julia Stephen, who was Burne Jones’s muse and Virginia Woolf’s mother, posed for some of the tableaux by her aunt, Julia Margaret Cameron. The photos I took of Daniela are akin to Cameron’s: they spring from a modest home-made theater of biblical and mythical scenes where she launches into performances linked to contemporary times. The unlikely mixture of fascination and lost times is what created these images.
Photographs by Flavio Colker
Performance by Daniela Vidal.
Curated by Martha Pagy
Image treatment by Alexandre Macedo/ Estúdio Lupa and Humberto Cesar
Thanks to Antonio Quinet, Jaqueline Plas, Felipe Hirsch, and Lui Farias
The authorship of these works is of Flavio Colker and performance of Daniela Vidal