Of the nature of things

Of the nature of things

“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”

 [Diane Arbus]

In this sequence of images realised by Valter Vinagre, between 1999 e 2003, the photographer has captured an object which remits us to an idea of intimacy – a mattress – always in the same place, lost and displaced in a natural landscape getting that way transformed in an unexplainable and dissonant reality.

The photographer went back to this place, deliberately, during 5 years, searching for significance and wishing to build the testimony image of a consonance between that object and the landscape.

This search was unfruitful and the images have remained as if encapsulated in a drift of real significance. Although the documental significance of these images remains unrevealed and unknown, its path of sensible exploration, this rescue, now, from the time and place of its production, incorporates in it an expanded “punctum”.  

The significance of these images is not isolated anymore, absorbed in itself, it meets, although in a non premeditated way, a body of work, posterior, of capture of human remnants in the landscape, through marginal experiences connected to prostitution.

Only photography allows this complex elaboration of the significances beyond their temporal nature and matrix context, as a privileged medium of, in the heart of reality, making that same reality derive to the territory of contradiction and of its own impossibility.

That way, this sequence of images is revelatory of the conflict that photography has always had with the reality representation. Its historical and ontological ability for revealing and testifying has been facing, from the beginning, the significance and reality ghosts who do not let themselves be captured or whose trajectory remains undefined and volatile.

Valter Vinagre proceeds always a labour of the contradictory  visibility, through a continued research of the remnant image, or what the philosopher Jacques Rancière designates as “effect in the place of cause”, protecting any image of its easy voyeuristic condition.

Therefore, the possibility of representing through the demand made to the spectator of having the hard and difficult task of elaborating a sensible image is the condition of these images.  

To look is today one of the most complex systems of contemporary culture, and the images are the ones that execute the liberty of its significances which can make us more political, before the reality that they give back to us.

Emília Tavares.  Lisbon, 2016