Catharsis - PHmuseum

Catharsis

Linda Zhengová

2019 - 2021

Czech Republic; Netherlands

Following my academic research, The Ambiguity of Visual Representations of Trauma, I now bring to the forefront a visual analysis in the form of a photobook - Catharsis. Concerned with the question: “how can one represent something visually that is by its very essence unrepresentable without banalizing it, trivializing it, spectacularizing it, and finally repressing it for a second time?”, I present both archival and newly created imagery to address such problematics.

Catharsis prioritizes a lived experience and explores traumatic memory not from the perspective of moral and medical classifications but instead, as an open artistic inquiry. As such, this publication is concerned with the connections between photography and trauma, between unutterable shock and the most elevated or supreme form of human communication and representation, between traumatic non-experience and aesthetic experience.

Mingling somewhere between anxiety and confrontation with reality, the project reveals an imaginary collective of traumatic experiences that belong to different individuals and the post-traumatic emotional process all victims of affliction can relate to. The series, therefore, may be interpreted as a photographic representation of the common human experience of trauma combined with a narrative that stems from my personal encounter.

I believe that the creation and viewing of trauma-related art can plant the seed for mutual acceptance and understanding in society, an ethical process that ultimately lifts existing stigmas surrounding different traumas and helps those suffering from trauma recover and ultimately achieve catharsis.

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