Czarna Madonna is a photographic project that I realised within one year of working intimately with my subjects, to through their presence depict harmful sides of love. The aim through this project for me was to examine the conflicting dynamics of the mother-child relationship and the fantastical aspects of family environment.
I am very fascinated with mental maps and personal geographies and how they are translated and passed on in form of stories. During the development of this work I have been extensively inspired by my grandmother’s stories that she shared with me. They are based on very mysterious events that she had experienced during her own childhood. Accordingly, her stories became a certain mood-setters for me to work around, and a perfect background on which I linked my reflections on the topic I am exploring in this body of work.
Through this series of photographs that are translated into a photographic book I hoped to represent the duality that family life and family relationships have: the very simple division between good and bad, the real and the imaginary, and this constant flow and circulation of those forces in our life.
In this project nature plays an important role and images of nature are kept, through their aesthetic, in an oneiric way through the use of colour and light.
The idea behind mixing two languages of images in the project was to highlight this duality in the representation of my topic – play with imaginative language of colour and abstraction of black and white that allows the photographs to speak in more symbolic way.
Working within a book form for me was an idea that made sense for the project I was exploring. The book form allows the dialog for the images and highlights what photography revels and what does it hide, where the frame ends and what can be excluded from the it, and why.
I worked closely with my subjects who represent generations from a newborn to elderly and thus their age diferences touch on the aspects of time passing and the very photographic power to preserve what is about to be lost.
For me photography itself as a medium is really so much about separation as much as it is about capturing a moment, its about separating that moment. Photographs in Czarna Madonna deal exclusively with this concept of separation, of loss, of letting go of that what is familial to us. This ever lasting relationship to the maternal is always connected with the act of “splitting”. We grow to learn to leave the maternal body. Dividing ourselves – we become fully, by detaching ourselves from that what is known. Thus my photographic practice has been largely influenced by the representation of the familial and my own challenges were to experiment with approaches of how else the familial should be depicted and why.
Through this body of work I explored my interests in aspects of photographic performativity. I have imported crucial elements of gesture, the pose, the movement extensively from performance art and I tried to translated them into my images.
The photographic attempt to depict the mother-child relationship was a challenge on its own, due to the subject’s universal meaning and weight. Thus the figure of the mother that was my starting point for the development of this body of work, became a metaphorical symbol linked with loss and the act of preservation thought photographic practice.