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.

Hollis Frampton – Nostalgia

Jan 16, 2015 - Tiago Casanova

frame src="" width="1000" height="750" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> The fascination towards Destruction dates late back in time, and as history tells us, almost never for a good reason. To old Civilizations destruction would many times symbolize victory, power and sovereignty. But it was only on the Romantic Era, during the late 18th century and first half of the 19th century, that this subject played a substantial role on an artistic and intellectual movement. Not literally destruction as the act of destroying, but the role of nostalgia as a metaphor for the degradation potentiated by time and evolution. This Romantic movement rised against the Industrial Revolution and tried to link their routes back to nature and ancient customs, valorizing regional and national history and heritage. An interesting example was Ruinenberg in the city of Potsdam, Germany, where a complex of ruins was built from the scratch, including a new greek style temple falsely destroyed. Unfortunately the honorable intention of the Romantic Era was later misunderstood by radicals and extreme nationalists such as nazis to intellectually legitimize their goals. But it was only after the horrors of the II World War, particularly in the devastated Europe and the mass destruction caused by the atomic power in Japan that this subject is going to influence artists worldwide and play an important role on contemporary art, specially with the growing fear for new atomic events during the Cold War. Art was more than ever a political statement, and it was not by chance that right in 1966 there was going to be organized the Destruction in Art Symposium in London. So today I am sharing with you one of my favorite works of this time, regarding the photographic image and its relation with destruction and memory. Made in 1971 by Hollis Frampton, Nostalgia is a 38 minute film that works with the experience of cinematic temporality and the ephemeral nature of memory. Placing still photographs on a hotplate, Frampton makes the prints slowly burn and disappear, while a narrator gives a clear description of the image and the story behind it. But soon the viewer understands that there is a displacement between sound and image because in reality the narrator is giving the information about the following image. It is an exercise of both memory and anticipation, because at the same time you see the image and remember the previews description, you have to imagine the following image with the new commentary given by the narrator. An exercise that extrapolates the nostalgic feelings behind memory and loss, from personal moments that already belong to the past. The video you see above is only part 1/4 of the video available at youtube. There is another link, the complete 38 minute film, but not so well reproduced in image and sound: Here