Archive
Project info

Archive
2008

Archive depicts books and china left from the estate of my deceased German mother. After her death some of her possessions - amongst them many of the books I had photographed earlier in Germany - were packed up randomly in boxes and sent to Australia. While unpacking these boxes after their arrival I started to photograph their content again. The things I unpacked, now taken out of the context of my mother’s home, felt strangely unfamiliar and my relationship with them was ambiguous to say the least.
The resulting photographs show objects that are arranged in towering and precarious assemblages. At first glance they look realistic and only at a closer look it becomes obvious that none of the arrangements could stand up in reality. The arrangements are constructed by combining images of smaller stacks into one impossible structure in the final tableau. My 'archive' subsequently depicts imaginary scenarios presenting only an illusion of stability and rationality.
In contemporary society the idea of the archive plays an important role in the construction of knowledge and history, both public and private. We collect things to preserve a past that no longer exists. The medium of photography directly relates to this concept: the photograph deals with “what was” and thus plays a significant part in our perception of the past. It is one of the essential foundations on which we build elaborate mental structures to reassure our view of the world. As soon as we file the past in our personal archive of memories we select and construct - without realising that many of the structures we are about to build are as unsound as the ones depicted in my work.