February 5th – 20th
Every day, we take at least one photo in order to save something from oblivion. Every day, we scroll through social network feeds, where photos and information are lined in endless series, which “only come from the world, even though I didn’t ask for it”. We scroll so fast that the whole world and all of its events appear like a carousel, gradually gaining momentum and growing increasingly blurry before our eyes. Such a forceful acceleration of the image has led us to a situation where we find ourselves in between pieces of reality that are constantly connecting and overflowing.
A bit like those endless series of ‘glued’ moments for that make it difficult to distinguish where one begins and where the other ends, which according to Barthes is one of the characteristics of photography itself that “belongs to the type of objects composed of glued layers where we can’t separate the layers without destroying them”and evoke the very nature of memories that are deposited and intertwined in the same way. In this way, Sandra Lakićević builds a new series of works created by an endless accumulation of photographs from her personal archive. Aware of the unstable nature of memory, and the impossibility not only of repeating the exact moment that is presented, but also of producing and preserving an absolutely accurate memory of an event, with her exhibition “Talking Fibres” Sandra opens the question of what we really talk about when we talk about memory.
Sandra has been dealing with narratives since the beginning of her career. Speaking about the responsibility towards our own and other people’s histories, she erases them and leaves room for new entries, she manipulates for the sake of subsequent readings, weaves the past into the present aware of the possible consequences and the fact that we are not only looking for lost time in the Proustian sense, but also looking for parts of our own narrative that are constantly changing. To the contemporary subject, every now-and-here is obscured by the constant inscription of the past and its reconstruction, as well as the foreboding of the future. Here the subject becomes the point where these continuous variables merge. ‘Now’ only exists in photography, where its creation has already become the past and can never be repeated in reality. As such, the past is constantly reworked, rewritten, twisted and is elusive even to those to whom it belongs, and even more to those to whom it is transmitted.
Therefore, when we talk about memory, we talk about only one form of it, about one possible version. Memory has no exact answers, constants or solid ground so dealing with it is somewhat reminiscent of Hélène Cixous on women’s writing. For Cixous, writing should take on the role of a powerful weapon against the masculine principle of the Logos, against idea and logic based on the myth of complete and absolute knowledge, as a fixed and immovable centre of structure, whereas writing proves to be a great means of deconstructing logocentrism. Sandra also doesn’t believe in logocentric myths about an unchanging narrative either, but instead of writing, she opts for the destruction, deconstruction and manipulation of photographs.
Take an image. There is a space and a time in which we exist, only we are no longer there, and during that enlightenment, photography begins to pulsate, giving the possibility of undermining the law and possible explosions. Logic no longer plays any role. It is ridiculous, deceptive, porous and prone to mistakes. However, Sandra does not completely deny it. By arranging the photographs chronologically, she leaves room for a potentially “correct” reading and reconstruction of events – a space for logical sequence and faithful retelling, emphasising all the noises that memories create in us.
The process of reconstructing memories has nothing to do with the true and correct sequence of events. There is no clear chronology in it, everything is in a hybrid state and a bit like in the “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. Continuous series of intense flashbacks, brightened and blurred parts, echoes and reflections, elements that disappear and those that appear, distorted perspectives, strange interruptions, noises and disturbances and unnatural connections in which we form a completely different narrative – continually transformed, enriched when talked about, when retold, transmitted, when attempted to be preserved; which crumbles and disappears when we are longer silent. That is why Sandra Lakićević’s story-telling is equivalent to a personal narrative where the narrator is no longer completely sure of themselves. With her new exhibition “Talking Fibres” Sandra performs an almost Benjamin-like montage connection of fragments that escapes confinement.
The elements of her memory are scattered, dispersed, dismembered parts of reality, thrown out of their usual context. Instead of photographs, which clearly relate to space and place, Sandra weaves new constellations. She stretches, intertwines, glues, merges and forms a completely new landscape. The rapid gaining of experience on one hand, and the random triggering of it are opposed by the careful, slow, meditative arrangement manifested in the method of her work. One by one, without any aesthetic selection, she tears the inkjet-printed photos, and then folds them again into a condensed, unrecognisable weave. The almost mechanic stamping of new visual content is opposed by the skilfulness of articulating the old, whereas the linear flow is opposed by cyclicity. Homogeneous accuracy and witnessing the moment is opposed by fragmented possibilities. The photograph can thus no longer testify to anything, however, it does possess a unique quality – it is able to weave threads and time and again tell a story from scratch, where Sandra’s works become something like meta-memories – a place of intersection where all stories meet.
Text: Teodora Jeremić