There are catastrophes whose marks are not visible on the earth’s surface.
Not apocalyptic destructions, but rather narrow cracks in the everyday fabric. Usually, the cause that brings about the ruin is an external and invasive force, an intruder that interrupts the smooth flow of everyday existence, that creates breaking points and brings about devastating consequences. Such comforting certainty cannot always be considered true. If one of the meanings of the word “καταστροφή” is death, then it can be as authentic as intimate and private.
The works created by Lottie Davies, from the series “Memories and Nightmares”, are not explosions smeared with blood, but raids of monsters born out of the mind. The British visionary photographer, with the help of all those who whispered accounts of their own nightmares to her ear, portrays the chronic diseases of the middle-class society. The disruptive power of the removed experiences, which can be compared to the vehemence proper of the energies that provoke cataclysms, explodes when the body breaks through the strict social barriers and finds its perfect playground in the sleeping zone, realm of the subconscious.
Lottie’s pictures suggest a catastrophe with a silencer, her works are inspired by the never forgotten narratives of individual experiences, both real and fictional memories from the early childhood. Tales and memories are made of the same matter and they blend together in the written accounts of her friends and acquaintances, who took active part in the project that started off in 2008 and was conceived from the outset as a receptacle of shared fears.
The aim of the eclectic Davies, who already mastered the language of photojournalism and approached the narration through the portrays of different moods, didn’t go unnoticed. The artist in fact won the Photographic Prize at the 52nd edition of International Art Prize Arte Laguna, and the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Awards 2008, with the portrait Quints displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It is an artful painting-like image of a woman surrounded by drapes and quintuplets – though, actually it is just one child portrayed in many different positions to create the illusion. There is composure and balance even in inquietude, there is harmony even in the most terrifying nightmare. The catastrophe can even be a multiple birth, the unmentionable fear of a mother over forty called Caroline Sibley, with whom Lottie had long chats to let herself get inspired.
Every character of the series, made of past and fears, has at least one lethal attribute: a quiet creature having Mephistophelian features sleeps in the bed next to you while the beams of an attic are monsters that drag you by the wrists. Repetition entails obsession, whether they are objects or identical faces. The killing fist holds firmly the knife that kills the appearance, the same spied many times from a secret hiding place behind the night table. The atmosphere before a massacre is extremely tense, even the birth of siblings or children isn’t a happy event but, selfishly speaking, it’s a loss. Between the lines, or better among the retro shades of an atemporal past is the fear of being squashed, annihilated by the psyche’s secrets.
DROME suggests you the following exhibitions:
Memories and Nightmares
4, Place d’Austerlitz
Strasbourg, from Febraury 2 to March 11, 2012
Memories and Nightmares
Calle Fuenterrabia, 13
Madrid, from March 22 to May 25, 2012