»come to light«
Invitation to the solo show by Marta Djourina “come to light!” in the gallery of the Dorothea Konwiarz Foundation, that is taking place as a part of the scholarship for 2017/2018.
Marta Djourina deals in an experimental matter with the borders of analogue photography. Synonymous for her works are camera-less pieces, that are also unique. Blind drawings with light, direct exposures with painterly outlook, experimental, folded pieces on the border to objects, ‘filtergrams’ and interactions with pinhole cameras build the core of Djourina’s artistic practice. Her tools are the photo paper itself and different light sources (torches , laser pointers etc.) The photo paper with it’s qualities to capture light, becomes a carrier of the traces of a painterly action, done with the light sources mentioned above. Light instead of a brush, photo paper instead of a canvas. Reduced to their essentials, the technological components of light and photographic paper become part of the artistic creative process. “It is the paper and light sources themselves that become agents in this process.”1
The pieces come into being without any camera and move therefor between many different media. In the broadest sense one can say that it is about a type of “photography”, that doesn’t take the reality in front of the camera but instead looks into the medium itself and it’s technical and chemical components: “(…) sometimes folded photographic paper is exposed using different light sources, so that the light and dark breaks and lines in the paper – caused by the folding – generate a type of pictorial narrative. The pictures contain traces of previous actions, and these traces are the result of interactions between light and paper.”2
A big part of Djourina’s works are the so called direct exposures and light drawings or light paintings. The traces this creates are not direct but abstract consequences of the interaction between light and paper. Djourina translates her interests in painting and drawing by using light sources with which she creates a type of blind painting int the darkness of the photo lab.
In this experimental approach, Djourina is interested in the distance between the art work and the artist. How can you create an image by using a light source only and by doing that having light as a topic? Her experiments in this area show a painterly and drawing approach:
“The ‘painting activity’ mentioned above points to another group of Djourina’s works, one which is more painterly or graphic in outlook: her light paintings. While these works also rely on direct exposure, random phenomena and unpredictability, in this case there is no experimental photographic setup that determines the artistic result; instead, the artist’s gesture itself does – just like in traditional painting. Using different coloured light sources, Djourina paints her own movements in the photo lab by way of a blind, experimental process. Again, the light’s color is reversed on the color photographic paper. The result: expressive light drawings – many of them brightly coloured and abstract.”3
Further, Djourina works with foldings. The photographic paper gets folded, crinkled and at the end exposed to light. Because she has the means of a limited amount of light sources, the artist has to try each color combination beforehand and document this. As a result of her research she has created an archive of her experiments in the shape of a type of ‘color lexicon’. In the case of direct exposures on photographic paper one needs to think first and foremost of the colour circle of complementary colours, e.g. red becomes blue and green becomes violet etc.
Shaping the surface of the paper before exposure and only then having light shine through several sides, there are shadows created on the surface of the paper. The paper itself develops a kind of image on itself, it paints on itself. She crinkles and folds the photo paper in sich a way, so that in the exposure proses addition abstract effects take place: “In some areas, the process of exposure “paints over” the folds; in others, points of light and shadows develop that also affect the final form.”4 Following this, the pieces are unfolded and presented flat. They are often laid out as series, as is the case in the exhibition “come to light”.