2015 - Ongoing
Gulnara Samoilova: Lost Family
“Lost Family” explores the hidden systematic powers of identification within a family constellation through three generations. The work is an examination of the ways in which unseen loss may be remembered and represented, in which photographs often begin as intimate and private images but may be transformed into elements of a constructed or partial biography, or into sites of public history. What is our relationship to the past, and what is the value we place on it? Photographic narratives are not fixed, and they form the viewer’s starting point for understanding wider issues.
In the series, I create complex and striking compositions using my own, larger-scale, photographs and small photographs from my family albums. I leave important parts of an original black and white photograph intact, and without any attempt at photo realism, I paint colorful flowers with oil paints; a reference to my name and my mother’s, and also a symbol of a “fantasy” life. Prefiguring a sense of loss, the fantastical collages cross temporal and spatial boundaries to connect the present and the past to convey an imagined story.
As I cull through formal and personal photographs, I am raising questions about how to represent that which is hidden, deferred or denied. In trying to find a photographic-artistic language to address death, mourning, remembering and reparation, I draw on my own lived experiences while at the same time inviting audiences to find their own reflections and resonances.