Seeing Memorials/CONTINUE LOOP UNTIL
The current pandemic has led me to re-visit photographs I’ve made at memorials to epochal episodes of loss – military cemeteries and sites of genocide. It’s rare in such places to find the voices of families, those who bear the heaviest legacy. I saw eloquent but cryptic exceptions to this rule at the Sobibor Nazi death camp memorial, in Poland, and at WWII cemeteries in Normandy.
I’ve paired the former – modest, fairly recent but already corroding plaques, screwed to small rocks along a pine-forest path – with carefully-tended headstones from the latter. I chose twelve particular pairs because I found symmetry or synergy between the inscriptions, despite their very different backgrounds and contexts.
Each pair of prints is mounted on a sheet of heavy printmaking paper. They are fitted to rectangles debossed into the paper by means of an etching press, and are then tabbed in place using separately-printed colored shapes. These are symbols taken from organizational flow charts and logic diagrams for electronic circuits. This obscure contemporary vocabulary, misused as a kind of ham-handed commentary, accords somehow with the challenges of trying to access and address the griefs of survivors, whether from earlier horrors or of our own present disasters.