© Nádia Ribeiro, 12 Letters, 2009
Pinhole gelatine silver prints (12 positives + 12 negatives), envelopes + photometric calculus
In An Archival Impulse, Hal Foster speaks about such impulse as a self-sufficient tendency. The archival impulse is, in fact, a sort of mutation of the repetition compulsion, a way to deal with memory through actions or, should I say, a way to escape memories through actions…
This impulse allows one to blend allegory with fiction and can take different forms, such as photo-montages, installations, notebooks, time-capsules, shadow-boxes, etc. The soul of the contemporary hunter-gatherer has its roots on the figure of the librarian and manifests itself through rigorous lists and catalogs. Whatever the approach may be, these tend to aim for one of two things: either the desire to retell an history by gleaning the necessary elements for the telling of the history and the visual account of such fragmented memory; either the intent to build, from scratch, a fictional object that alludes to the real life of the chosen documents, hoping that by putting them all together they can regain their historical significance and pave their way into our collective cultural memory.
Nádia’s projects, however different their starting points may be, tend to be “haunted” by repetition, by a finite limit of the material they imprint themselves in, by an obsession with abstract linearity. This sequence of things depicted stands for the lack of memories, so her pinhole-suitcase and her modern herbarium come from a place of struggle with the immediacy of seeing, living, remembering and reproducing.
It’s curious that obsessions, in all their different takes, tend to be materialized in a whole formal way of expression which we start recognizing soon after we first encounter it, because of its traces of systematization, organization, repetition, composition and hipper-estetization (the working in series type of). Madness has as much randomness has anarchy as of disorder…
text by Sofia Silva
© Nádia Ribeiro, Herbarium, 2009
Gelatine silver prints (56 photograms); box, positive + leaf
More of Nádia’s work can be seen here