THE RELENTLESS MELTING OF TIME
November 20, 2019 -
February 1, 2020
Artwork. Library, Club el Nogal, Caroline Peña Bray, 2018
La Balsa Arte presents a group of artists whose works illustrate, in a personal and unique way, the relationship that photography has today with contemporaneity, synthesizing the idea that "the contemporary is the sense in which the subject looks and lives immersed in a series of attitudes to which he has arrived after a long historical journey, so it is above all a temporal reference".
In a founding moment of modernity, Kant asked: what makes the present moment a philosophical problem? If 'philosophy' becomes 'surface of emergence of its discursive actuality', one can transpose the problem to contemporary photography. This consideration implies questioning the current practice about its meanings, which we arrive at through the work itself; through its way of constructing meaning, value, singularity, from which emerges an idea about its reason for being and its aesthetic actuality.
From the concept of the performative, it can be said that photography is what it does, its intrinsic meanings, and it is the image and its treatment from which the meaning of the work emanates.
Two authors put into consideration ideas of novelty and temporality in the face of contemporary aesthetics.
Harold Rosenberg (The Tradition of the New, 1959), glossing over the innumerable accommodating formulas of a mid-century society whose emphasis lay primarily in maintaining the status quo acquired by mass consumption and the illusion of unlimited resources, criticizes the 'gloss of novelty' applied, like a varnish, over surfaces of decay and obsolescence. Rosenberg anticipated by half a decade the current environmental crisis, which updates a methodical practice of doubt, particularly around the idea of novelty, to differentiate what are disruptive proposals aimed at creating new paradigms, as opposed to novelty as a cosmetic effect.
On the other hand, Susan Sontag, in her book On Photography, 1977 said: "All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in the mortality, vulnerability, and mutability of another person (or thing). Precisely by cutting and freezing this moment, all photographs bear witness to the relentless melting of time." This idea reformulates, in terms of the ineluctable passage of time, the problem of the actual or contemporary. It is a call for attention on finiteness and evanescence; and today, on the generalized crisis generated by the increasingly narrow interval between the space of individual experience and the horizon of expectation or future.
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Nicola Lo Calzo is an Italian photographer and teacher-researcher (Uni Paris-Cergy and Ensapc) based in France since 2006. He currently works between Bahia and Paris where he runs a course on postcolonial and queer practices in photography at the School Nationale Supérieure d'Arts of Paris-Cergy. He is also a member of the editorial committee of the digital arts research platform PLARA and co-curator of the International Biennial of Photographic Encounters of Guyana. Lo Calzo is the recipient of a Cnap grant (2018) and nominated for the Prix Elysée (2019) and the Niépce prize (2020). In 202...
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