from 09/11/2017 to 12/11/2017, 12:00-20:00
Venue: Paris Photo, Grand Palais – avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 75008, France, Map It
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Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes began to take shape during the course of research carried out at the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (INMLCF), in Portugal.
Over a period of three years, Edgar Martins took more than a thousand photographs and scanned more than three thousand negatives from the INML’s vast and extraordinary collection. A significant number of these images depict forensic evidence, particularly weapons and objects used in crimes and suicides, suicide notes, letters and activities inherent in the work of the pathologist. However, alongside these photographs, Edgar Martins also began to recover images from his own archive and produce new photographs on other subjects, intended as a visual, narrative and conceptual counterpoint. The project sits precisely within this counterpoint between images, imaginations and imagery relating to death and the dead body, as an interstitial realm, an interlude between art and non-art, between past and present, between reality and action.
By productively linking documental and factual records with images that seek to explore their speculative and ctional potential, Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes proposes to scrutinise the tensions and contradictions inherent in the representation and imagination of death, in particular violent death, and, correlatively, the decisive but deeply paradoxical role that photography – with its epistemological, aesthetic and ethical implications – has played in its perception and intelligibility.
In this sense, Siloquies and Soliloquies on Death, Life and Other Interludes also seeks to extend Jacques Derrida’s concept of Destinerrance to the photograph itself.
Destinerrance combines notions of destination and destiny with error or errancy. Every missive, every letter, suggested Derrida in La Carte Postale, risks ending up in the wrong place, being misinterpreted, arriving at the wrong addressee, because it must use iterable language, and therefore the context of any given utterance can never be nally exhaustively delimited. For Martins a photograph is like a dead letter, stuck in the dead letter office, no return to sender, no addressee found, because of its inherent quality to detach from its author, to circulate and continue to signify long after death. In the end the photograph does not inhere in truth but in the destinerrances it creates.
This work marks a significant transition in Edgar Martins’ creative trajectory, including a vaster, more diversi ed body of visual processes and types – photographs, appropriations, projections, installation, text, sound– signalling the artist’s growing inclination towards a broader, more hybrid perspective of the practice of photography and the experience of images.