- 8 variations in a circle, 30X36 cm, 2011

    The 8 photographs foreground the problem of the visual representation of traumatic experiences. They are based on archival images which document the Holocaust in Romania. The victims are shown digging their own grave, aligning themselves inside the grave, adopting a bent over position and waiting to be shot. The sequence of events makes for a traumatic and almost ritualistic experience and photography (with its own sequence of actions) captures and accompanies this ritual of sorts step-by-step. The images reproduced in Matatias Carp’s book triggered a reflection on the temporal sequence implied by this experience. I asked myself how time flows within the ‘intimacy’ of trauma, and how the presence of the camera factors into this process.  The type of re-enactment that I have chosen relies on the view that the traumatic temporal sequence can be broken down into a theoretically unlimited number of snapshots (the 8 shots present in the exhibition are just a sample). However, given the fact that trauma per se is beyond comprehension, a deconstructive approach is doomed from the start. Turning one’s attention towards this particular kind of traumatic experience reveals the traumatic core of the real. The impulse to search for this traumatic core and to assimilate it somehow might be bound to fail, but the deconstructive gesture is nonetheless necessary, in order to underline the temporal dimension of the experience. Equally, it helps to identify and problematize the very idea of trauma. The act of photographing myself as victim is also founded on the idea of empathy, a practice recommended by Dominick La Capra. The empathy that is sought is not a total identification with the victim, but a type of identification meant to introduce a level of anxiety in the relation with history.



Excerpts from Matatias Carp – The Black Book of the Destruction of Romanian Jews 1940-1944, Éditions Denoël, 2009