June 14 -July 7, 2007
Moving from image to image in the sequence of portraits from "Anamnesis" we follow the author step by step through the process of their creation. Revealing the structure of the image does not dismiss the magic of fictional reality into which we are pulled. On the contrary, the possibility of active participation of imagination in the reconstruction of the image (the reconstruction of the author's actions) and the journey to its consecutive layers becomes a fascinating adventure of our consciousness, a discovery of its previously unknown spheres.
Each of the individual images hidden in portrait photography tells metaphorical tales about the model whose face is the dominating element of the frame, adding something new and different to its spiritual image. Symbolic images of birds, water, trees, walls, doors or windows open the space of a psychological interior which even the most sophisticated lens cannot penetrate. Those portraits, however, have been created in the author's imagination - and we are reminded of it once again by the symbolic sheet of white paper which appears in each image. Therefore, those photographs are double portraits because they tell us something not only about the person depicted but also about the photographer himself. Constructing the image also means constructing the image of that someone of whom the author is thinking in our consciousness. In the "Anamnesis." series photography is neither the point of destination nor the aim. The process of photography, analogous to the way in which memory and imagination functions, becomes the method of living one's life, of building one's own "archives of memory" in which the portraits of the people one has met occupy an important place - both the portraits of close acquaintances and friends, and the portraits of those people one sees only from a distance or meets once in a lifetime.
Our memory contains many images remembered from various moments in life but their meaning for our whole psychological and intellectual identity is created only in relation to other memories and to what we are experiencing at the present moment. Images of memory and their analogues - photographic, documentary registrations - are but raw material, the starting point for the creation of a subjective, individual world of values which also, but this time only metaphorically, may also be considered to be "an image." However, it is a mental image, consisting of sensual impressions, emotions and reflections. Its reconstruction in the form of a visual image may take the form of a photograph and be realized by means of photography, but only as a metaphor - never literally.
Such is one conclusion in the discourse on photography and memory which Andrzej P. Bator makes in his latest photographic series "Anamnesis - [Re]construction of an Image." Although photography as such - photography as reflection of reality, as its realistic image - is never the ultimate aim of those works, it is one of their specific subjects. In order for memory and consciousness to exist, they must be preceded by reality to which internal, psychological and intellectual life relates. Memory must be the memory of something, just like consciousness - the consciousness of something. Therefore, the anchoring of a pure photographic frame in reality (as we cannot photograph anything, whatever it might be, that has not appeared in front of the camera) becomes an absolute and unquestionable ontological foundation of the works by Andrzej P. Bator and gives meaning to everything that they give evidence to through their fictional, metaphorical images - because it is a foundation based on reality, not on pure fiction.
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