OBSTRUCTED LANDSCAPES & CONSTRUCTED LANDSCAPES
Dafna Talmor | London
The International Eye feature artist for this edition, Dafna Talmor from London is unique in her artistic practice for merging and transforming landscapes through intertwining photographs into virtual works of art. We find her works compelling as they transport the viewer from times and places of significance to individual remembrance, memory and subjectivity, in the aim to make it a subject of the universal parallel.
An artist and lecturer based in London, Dafna Talmor’s multidimensional practice explores photography, video, curation and collaboration. Her photographs have been featured in public collections such as the Victoria and Albert museum, Deutsche Bank and in private galleries across the world. Talmor’s artworks can also be viewed in various publications such as Robert Shore’s PostPhotography: The Artist with a Camera (Laurence King Publishing, 2014) and Alternative Photographic Processes: Crafting Handmade Images by Brady Wilks (Focal Press, 2015). Recently, the artist’s work has been exhibited at TOBE Gallery (Budapest, 2018) and Photofusion (London, 2017) and Talmor has also participated in group exhibitions at Sid Motion Gallery, London among others.
We find Talmor’s work significant as it is divided into two main bodies: Obstructed Landscapes and Constructed Landscapes. Themes of anonymity and an international sense of peace and travel pervade her photographic works. In conversation with ARTRA, Dafna elucidates on the influences behind this collection and the processes used to produce these images that allow her to create ‘landscapes’ that transcend space and time.
Q | What was the driving force behind your ongoing series Constructed Landscapes and were there any influences for this body of work?
A | For years, my work consisted primarily of photographs shot in interior spaces with mere suggestions of outside space. As soon as I stepped outside with my camera, I felt overwhelmed, physically and conceptually. In spite of this, I found myself compulsively shooting landscapes whenever I travelled. As the photographs were shot with no conceptual agenda, I accumulated rolls of film I was utterly disappointed with. This initial cause of frustration led to the idea of using my personal archive to make work that dealt with my problematic relationship to landscape, providing meaning and function to these seemingly defunct negatives. In dialogue with the history of photography, Constructed Landscapes references pictorialist processes of combination printing as well as modernist experiments with the materiality of film. Whilst distinctly holding historical references, the work engages with contemporary discourse on manipulation and the analogue/digital divide.
Q | Could you elaborate on how you create these non-descript images and the photographic process behind their conception? In leaving spaces of each composition blank, what do you aim to convey to the viewer?
A | Produced by collaging medium format colour negatives, images initially shot as mere keepsakes across different locations are transformed through the act of slicing and splicing. Any obviously manmade structures such as roads, lamp posts, paths or living beings – anything that seems to interrupt the so-called purity of the landscape or invite a particular narrative – tend to get removed with a scalpel. Paradoxically, new interruptions are created as a result of these manual interventions. These over and under exposed elements play a pivotal role within the image, serving as ‘evidence’ that photographs are constructs that provide a limited view, acting as a pointer beyond the confines of the frame to a much more complex version of reality. I see the resulting photographs as a conflation, ‘real’ yet virtual and imaginary staged landscapes; transforming a specific place – loaded with personal meaning and political connotations – into a utopian space of greater universality. I am interested in defying specificity, referring to the transient and metaphorically blurring place, memory and time.
Creating a space that does not exist but remains rooted in reality and is believable in spite of its obvious construction is noteworthy. The work is made in response to clichéd tropes of the heavily loaded genre of landscape. It aims to reference yet disrupt pictorial conventions, raising questions around the production and consumption of these types of images.
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