Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

The future in reverse

Mar 18, 2019 - Douglas Mandry

The project «Monuments» which I am developping currently, takes as starting point the melting phenomenon of glaciers in Switzerland. Rather than being a documentation, it is a reflection on this phenomenon, using collected material to include it in the photographic process, in order to question our relationship to time, memory and materiality. The work is constituted of several typologies, each of them creating a connection between subject and photographic object. On the one hand, I collect found photographs from the 1930’s, early signs of alpine tourism in Switzerland and testifying of the grandeur of swiss glaciers, as well as their commercial potential. Those images are printed on geotextile (commonly called «glacier blanket»), material created and used specifically to protect glaciers during too hot summer time.
Those blankets are collected after a season on the mountains, and printed on using the process of lithography. This operation generates a form of double-exposure: the glorifying images of snowy mountains merge with present traces of rust, water and earth on the fabric — signs of a vain attempt of man to slow down a process which he himself contributed to start.

 

On the other hand, ice blocs are collected from the same glacier and used to create photograms, directly exposed as they melt in the lab onto photosensitive paper. The result is a crystalisation of the act of melting, represented onto one single piece of paper, and simulating a permanent, yet impossible state of the ice.

 

Those layers of experimentation are assembled in a space installation, where formats, materials and status express their meaning until the last step of the project – the physical experience of it.