The photographers both communicate the feeling that the Germans express with the word Heimat, and that other languages are unable to translate except through reference to a ‘geographical or metaphorical place in which someone feels at home’. It is therefore not a question of a precise territory, but of a space that may vary, in some way thus describing the individual. We all possess or discover our Heimat one day, and in the exhibition Where Thou Art, that is home, a quote from a poem by British poet Emily Dickinson, we are invited to consider it.
“In this series, I wanted to focus not on a vast territory but on what constitutes the everyday life of my origins, of the people and things that marked my growing up in this area.”Carmen Colombo’s memories thus mingle with our own: in the fences, the gardens, the characters who mark that brief period of life that makes up our formative years.
The scarce geographical information, the isolation of the subjects narrated (with the exception of the two women who seem to be talking to each other, despite being hidden behind thick furs), the static nature of scenarios in which an action is called for that does not take place, mean that these photographs are both close to and far from any precise context.
These are images that transcend their representation and become symbols of the family habitat.
“My project is the body, mine as well as that of other women, yet all understood as home. I am attracted by the details of my subjects’ skin. Life lives there and makes each body both unique and similar to others at the same time.”
The pathos is intense and disturbing in the shots, which were taken between 2016 and 2021. The images show supple bodies, voyeuristic still lifes and a self-portrait.
The skin evoked, bandaged or completely naked marks the point of contact with the world.
Text by Charlotte Tron.