2018 - Ongoing
The work 'Tracing Entities - Aftermath of War' is a collection of different segments from a greater body of work created by Christel Pilkaer Thomsen.
The project explores different issues of identity, memory, and representation centering around contemporary political problematics and how photography can represent and visualize these issues. First and foremost the project wants to explore the boundaries of photography and what is possible to visualize through the photographic medium and different photographic processes.
In the first chapter, the presented work deals with trauma and healing from war - especially, the psychological complications that people who have been exposed to traumatic events are faced with and the issues they are encountering on their return back home. The main focus in the first chapter is on people who have served in war and/or warlike situations.
Therefore, the project is based on personal stories and encounters with Danish veterans who are dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and on collective responses to trauma. In relation to this, the work wants to explore how photography can be used as a tool to visualize the non-visible and non-verbalized woven together by the personal narratives of the subjects and abstractions created by the artist. Through different strategies by working collaboratively and having conversations with the subjects involved in the project, through traditional analog portraiture, documentary photography, and through abstract and alternative photographic processes the work creates a constant shift between figuration and abstraction.
Furthermore, there is a constant battle between what is being exposed to the viewer and what is still hidden and not accessible in the project. The importance of the work is established and enhanced by the process of both collaborating and engaging with the subjects, by the use of materials and by the photographic processes. Here a dualistic relationship is created between what has been exposed and developed, the physical and the psychological, the whole and the broken, the personal and the abstract, and the result and the process.
The work will continue and develop in the years to come when new chapters will be created and added to the work.