Images don’t wear off, cannot be removed or erased. Images create memories, emotions, conditions. They hang in empty frames or are taped to the walls without frames. From clichés carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders to those still undiscovered, or being rediscovered every second; all images produced, reproduced or imagined create fear. Because images are uncanny at the same time; they don’t reveal the truth behind something – instead, they exist as they want to be seen.
Family albums are as they are supposed to be. They carry the “happiest” memories, shot where no one can even remember. They also remind one of the saddest memories… for those that have lived in those moments and remember it as they wish. And they stir up the ultimate fear: before you cease to exist, “look your best” so you’ll be remembered well.
“Unreal” unlike on the stage, a visuality composed by various gestures and poses. Let’s leave understanding the image for a moment; will calculating the emotions it awakens be as hard as its meaning? Colored or not, old or new, crowded or tranquil. Does 4 people standing next to each other smiling make a family? By which definition and conditions? Have they just met or are they old friends? Did they just have an argument or are they there to “eternize” a fun gathering? Each person in the shot might have a different answer for these questions. Add this uncertainty created by the image in your mind to the information pollution already existing. Think about the people in the shot and those viewing it in another time, detached from the posers. In a larger sense, think about the art viewer. The fatigue of thinking about what the image wants to say, what it will make people feel and how it can be explained to others. And when you think of today; the images you see when you are going from home to work, or from your bedroom to the kitchen, and the mind confusion they create…
Saiko Kanda and Mayuka Hayashi, while trying to scrape this pollution off, pull us into a deeper multitude. How else can you describe putting emotion-loaded images into an x-ray machine, leaving aside the biological filter it passes while travelling to the mind? We browse through bodies recalling what they were, under the x-ray light. Lovers gazing into each others’ eyes can still look awesomely “fragile” or “soft” – even when they are only skulls knocking heads. When they are for the first time – visually – in the core, materialized and simplified. At this point, we go back to the beginning – dialectics is beautiful, again we have very few information regarding these couples. In fact, the only thing we know is that they are lovers and we are looking at images regarding their daily lives. Do the feelings each image create get stronger as it is simplified? Will we be able to see the thing behind these “skeletons” without scraping off taught visuals that are the equivalent of taught emotions? And maybe the most basic question; can we put aside the peeping instinct that we have since we were born, or the Big Bang? X-Ray Portraits might be a fine beginning to answer these questions.
Dilan Ceylan Emektar