Artist Interview - Sofia Dalamagka
Evanescentium Memento? Interesting title!
For me, it represents the identity of the project. We live in a time where people become scavengers, they collect photographs. We gather pixels on hard disks and monitors. A memento is tangible. You can hold it in your hands. I wanted to emphasize that. But photog- raphy balances between memory and oblivion. The one thing that is sure, is her evanescent nature. Like everything that is evanescent and transient, (even we are), the nature of the photograph is to negate her own character. Yes, a photograph is an evanescentium memento.
So, if we could realize through the identity of the photograph that our presence is only temporary on this planet, maybe we would change the way we deal with the people around us. We are not of such great importance as we might think. Life, sometimes, lasts only as long as a snapshot!
This project is a change from your other work. An experiment?
I wanted something totally different in this project than what I had created before, even if that meant that I had to unsay everything that I believed about photography up to now. It was a risk.
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Normal is boring, normal is ordinary, I don’t believe in its importance. In my opinion, being “put in a box” is what actually motivates it. Normality, even in photography, is a trap; it states the absence of identity, character and personality.
Making the images, I felt a deeper need to almost “desecrate” the pictures as I found them until they are “reborn” into a new form, All the old family photographs which I discovered, as well as those of strangers, found in garbage bins, drawers, dusty boxes in antique stores and abandoned houses, whisper in my ear and ask for justice. Restoration from injustice. To stop the punishment of oblivion and decay was what motivated this experimental project.
Your art is very personal. Is it autobiographical?
I believe, without doubt, that in anything that is connected with creating, and in order to speak authentically, one should always put his personal truth and part of his soul into his work. Yes, there are my own experiences in Evanescentium Memento, which I included through free association or symbolism through indirect reference to remembrance and oblivion. The background of my life's memories re-shapes and re-figures this series of photo-graphs. Sometimes, a picture can turn, through creativity, into an act of revenge and, at other times, into an act of catharsis.
This series, and many of your other works, are also very "dark," both in tonality and mood.
I definitely am an introvert, a pessimist maybe. A realist definitely. Life has its dark sides. Nevertheless, this might be the way of the Universe to make us appreciate the light, those bright and sunny people and moments. Happiness is a selfish feeling. You live it. Not many aesthetically successful artworks have expressed joy, happiness, and optimism. Pain, the dark side of ourselves. is the motivational power for creativity. As I grow older, I take