“Arriving at each new city, the traveller finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.” (Invisible Cities, Italo Calvino)
My series of photographs investigates the intersection of image and language. It is a series of triptychs and collages inspired by the poetic form of the haiku. In my work, I transfer the characteristics of this literary form of expression to explore the artistic language that is inherently visual and clearly defines itself as a language beyond words and the linguistic constraints of (Western) thought. In my work, I investigate to what extend the mystical metaphoric level of the haiku, reached through a high degree of reduction and an enigmatic abstract formalism, might be an inherent visual character.
Haikus are ambiguous due to their seeming incompleteness; they create a vast space of meaning around short verses, a moment of “pregnancy” called peripeteia (David Bate, Photography: The Key Concepts). It is an intuitive and, at the same time, sharp response to the everyday world, a linguistic snapshot.
By association readers or viewers are invited to draw on their own personal observation, imagination, and experience. Instead of one fragment (one image or snapshot), I present three fragments that make the process of association more complex. The three photographs of each triptych represent the three lines of a haiku. In the context of contemporary urban space, the concept of the “visual haiku” is valuable to me, because my images reflect experiences of personal, immersive participation in that particular space (and space in general). Visual haikus can represent and translate the complexity of memories that are an immanent part of urban materiality. Subject matter and compositional arrangement remind us of Lee Friedlander’s work of urban social landscapes and street photography as well as of the strong and colourful pallet in everyday scenes and ordinary subject matters in William Eggleston’s oeuvre.
Vision and memory are treated as static imprints of specific moments. Like memories, the triptychs are fragmentary collections of complex instants. Like haikus, the photographs capture snapshots evoking associative and emotional glimpses at individual memories as a ‘trace’ in time. My visual haikus reflect a complex revitalisation of the past in contemporary life.