This work is not about anything. If you ask me, and I have already been asked, what these images are about, I wouldn’t be able to answer. They are not, like previous works of mine, about the Shoah or about the impossibility of photographing a window or a bowl, nor about the time that flows or the memories of tomorrow. These photographs are not variations on the same subject. They do not show a city or a group of people, in fact, there are architectures nor faces in these photographs, they are images of a world, neither before nor after human presence, but of a world despite people. They should not even be seen, perhaps, as a group of work, as a series, but rather as works per se, mirrors that reflect what I thought, images that live from and for themselves, breathe on themselves, opening themselves to the gaze that wants to see them and, on the other hand, closing themselves off to contemptuous gazes. And they do not require readings and re-readings through other images that may surround them at this moment. One plus one is still one here.
And yet, they are arranged in a panorama, a little like the old panoramas in which the photographs stitched together created a whole, and thus dominated the entire horizon that surrounded us, that mirrors us, creating a universe of its own that will only exist here and now. Photographs, in general, speak, first and foremost, of photography itself, of what we choose to photograph or not. They exist from the free choice of options that the photographic techniques allow, the motif, the subject, the colour, the black and white, negative, positive, filter on the lens or later in post-production, analogue film, digital file, large, small, distant, close, horizontal, vertical, you can’t do this, why not? and so much more. And they speak about our ability to see, to look, to observe, to control the direction of our eyes, if indeed we want to see or if we prefer to pretend we didn’t. It’s as if the eyes here were served on a plate, not Saint Lucia’s, whose name is light, although she is the patron of eternal darkness, but mine. Seeing the photographs, that’s what we’re here for. However, are we looking at the works or through the works?
Daniel Blaufuks, THE BOAT TRIP (DEPARTURE), 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, THE PERSISTENCE OF MEMORY, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 105 x 15 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, AWAKENING, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 165 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, ATOMIC KISS, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, THE EYES OF SAINT LUCY, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
These photographs, I repeat, are not about anything, or rather, they are about nothing. And if so, they will perhaps be about everything. These are some of the images I found, or others I imagined and created. They are from a world under construction and deconstruction, from a chaotic world, which fascinates and horrifies me. They are photographs about the nothing, because they are about the everything, about our time, our reflection, our violence, our greed, our blindness, our fear, our inaction. But they also speak of my our joy and my our will to live, my our ability to dream. The photographs only allude, they do not show any of this concretely, because the photographs do not necessarily have to be about something concrete, they are monuments and not documents, they do not illustrate, but react, they are perhaps visual poetics, they might even be about the centre of all this, which seems not to be able to withstand this pressure, all this anger, all this disarray, already starting to crack and its cracks and wounds spreading, finding themselves on the other side of the sphere we inhabit, successively generating new impacts and new clashes.
Daniel Blaufuks, NADJA OR THE FORGOTTEN ARCHIVE, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, MODERN NATURE, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, THE NIGHTWATCH, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 165 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, THE GREAT WAVE, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, THE FUTURE WAVE, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, HAUNTED NATURE, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 10 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
The melting ice, the blade in equilibrium, the dying animal, the man I who tries to save the world with a candle constantly extinguishing or even appeasing, and all will be repeated. It is the shattering of the system, which generates and regenerates itself almost without our being aware of it. But there are countless ways to replace a system in dissolution, with another that better adapts to a more conscious and more comprehensive world, finally perhaps a system in which the human, whoever and whatever he might be, the animal, whatever species it is, and the natural meet again.
Daniel Blaufuks, THE GLEANERS, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, THE EQUILIBRIUM OF MALEVOLENCE, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, THE BOAT TRIP (RETURN), 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 110 x 160 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks, ASCENSION, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 160 x 110 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
They are copies without originals, images of what we have seen before, whether in reproduction, as here, or in the real world, they are déjà-vu, because today we’ve seen everything several times and what we didn’t see was because you didn’t want to see it or because it hasn’t happened yet. They are forcibly arrested images, the ice will never melt, and that is what still attracts me to photography as a medium, because despite being modern, its connection with the previous arts, painting and sculpture, is made by this immobility and silence, which do not seem to exist nowhere else, in a world where everything seems to be changing and in constant noise. Notice, everything here moves, except, no, the photographs will also move away soon, everything moves, I reinforce, except the images within the photographs, then there time was suspended for almost forever. Another paradox – the images inside the photographs, which are movable objects – like a text inside the book object, as if it wasn’t already enough that we are now seeing something I have seen earlier, my eyes in your eyes. But how to see the image beyond the photograph itself? Let us not forget, therefore, that, despite being static, all these reproductions have an instant of their own, that there is a before and after this moment of interruption, a photograph is nothing more than an interruption of the flow, a hiatus of breath, and a space around, beyond the limits of the frame, a fragment of space. There is here a clear distinction with drawing and painting, which only exist within their own frames, while photography extends beyond it. And it even has a sound, if we are willing to listen. Another paradox, listening to a photograph like someone who paints silence.
Some of these photographs change reality as we perceive it, they are inverted in one or more directions. When we say the sea is blue, we know the sea is blue. But will my blue be the same as yours? We speak of colour as something uniform, but we are unaware of the visual distinctions of each of our brains. It is a metaphor, like any other, for everything else that we think we know and perceive correctly, the correct being, as a rule, what we think and how people like us think. But everything is fluid in a changing world and reasoning must also be fluid, as, as we well know, feelings are. Ethics before aesthetics. The world is full of certainties and uncertainties, but it has always been, we just think that our time is of greater uncertainty than others, just as others thought in their own time. It is not yet in our time that the end of the world will come, although, and of this I have no doubt, the history of the world is a history of speed, of continuous acceleration, which can only end in explosion or in its inverse, in implosion, which, at the end of the day, will amount to the same thing.
Daniel Blaufuks. MELTDOWN (WINTER), 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. Triptych: 120 x 160 cm + 60 x 80 cm + 30 x 40 cm. Ed. 3 + 2 AP; MELTDOWN (SUMMER), 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. Triptych: 120 x 160 cm + 60 x 80 cm + 30 x 40 cm. Ed. 3 + 2 AP
The imagined voyage can be better than the actual one. And the sun, despite having risen today and yesterday and the day before yesterday, never assures us that it will rise again tomorrow and so the already in itself, for many reasons, threatening sun, which used even to be a god, can invert and become a fountain of darkness, as in an eternal eclipse, of which the primitives were so afraid. An inverted world. Each light has its shadow and the shadow, which is presence, is also made of light, of the very absence of light. There is no death without life, in other words, there is no yes without no, there is no positive without negative, there is no presence without absence and vice versa, and this world can be the same, but slightly different. And it is of this slight difference, that archive glove forgotten in an also forgotten archive, which, in short, these photographs, these silences, are about, for those who are able to see. Or else, they will just be photographs of nothing, about nothing, of what doesn’t matter, because what really matters is that we don’t lose the curiosity to discover ourselves, even if we have to bore ourselves a bit to do that.
– Daniel Blaufuks
PANORAMA or the centre won’t hold, January 2023
Daniel Blaufuks, THE SALVATION OF THE WORLD, 2023. Inkjet print on baryta paper. 120 x 16 cm. Ed. 3 + 2AP
Daniel Blaufuks has been working on the relationship between public and private memory, one of the constant interrogations in his work as a visual artist. He has exhibited widely in museums, private galleries, and festivals and works mainly in photography and video, presenting his work through books, installations, and films. He holds a PhD from the University of Wales, where he wrote on photography and film in relation to the work of W.G. Sebald and Georges Perec, as well in relation to memory and the Holocaust. In 2016 he received the AICA Portugal award for the exhibitions “Attempting Exhaustion” and “Léxico”.
Daniel Blaufuks, PANORAMA, 2023. Gouache, mirror on Canson paper. 22 x 31 cm. Unique