Poststructuralism theories state that every literary text talks to other already existing texts in a vast number of ways. Intertextuality can also be found in non-literary arts such as photography, especially today when the proliferation of images and their distribution and consumption has completely changed the way we try to make sense of them. This term also refers to the notion that every work of art is composed of pieces of other works that operate as a silent foundation, a world of cross-references, conscious or not.
Images, just like texts, lack independent meaning. The mechanisms of intertextuality storm the concept of one fixed and unequivocal meaning and highlight the active role of the reader: “The act of reading plunges us into a network of textual relations. To interpret a text, to discover its meaning, or meanings, is to trace those relations.”
In my own practice, I am interested in overcoming the (mostly self-imposed) isolation of photography – both as a practitioner working alone and as a medium separated from the other artistic disciplines. This exhibition features photo-based series that are informed by literature in a wide variety of manners: from a loose source of inspiration to the appropriation of its words to then disrupt their meaning using images.
Re-tracing the steps of a literary journey in an inexistent country, telling a traditional tale from a contemporary perspective, tapping into literary classics – also from children' and youngsters’ worlds – to subvert their meaning with powerful social and political comments, and conceptual approaches such as questioning the very meaning of words and books themselves; these strategies are telling that “intertextuality is not neutral”.
Quotes in Italic are from Allen, Graham, Intertextuality, 2011.
Mariela Sancari (Argentina, 1976) lives in Mexico City since 1997. Her work revolves around truthfulness and fiction in images, using personal narratives to explore the boundaries of the scope of photography as a means of representation. It refers to the affective dimension, yet not sentimental, of autobiographical work, as well as formal explorations of the medium, through questions related to staging and self- referentiality in photographic practice.
Her first book Moisés was selected by several curators and reviewers, such as Sean O’Hagan, Tim Clark, Erik Kessels, Jörg Colberg, Larissa Leclair, Yumi Goto and Colin Pantall, among others, as one of the Best Photobooks published in 2015.
In 2017 she published her second book, Mr. & Dr., a photobook aimed for children and youngsters that explores the notion of the unknown through images and text. Her latest project, The two headed horse. Reenactment in ten acts is a series of ten photographs turned into a theather play – a sort of tableau vivant– that questions the meaning of staging, the reliability of photography and the processes through which we understand what we see.