All photographs are abstractions of reality or, as Phillipe Dubois would explain, photography is a trace that is at a certain distance to the reality it represents. Far from being a mirror of the world, photography constitutes a mark that is singular but also determined by its point of reference.
By the end of the 40s, North American inventor Edwin Land had succeeded in reducing and automating all dark room procedures inside the tiny pack of Polaroid film, which included a negative, chemicals, and paper to capture the positive image. For this work, I focused my attention on the disposable back of this film ––which normally looks like a plain black rectangle–– and, holding the negative, is solely at the service of the creation of the positive image.
Due to the effects of time on the chemicals ––I used film that expired 15 years ago–– and to the mysterious molecular interactions that occurred there, unpredictable singularities developed, which turned the film backs into canvases for chance. The resulting images are second-degree abstractions: they maintain a causal relationship with the photographs that originate them and constitute the trace of another trace.
This process results in two distinct sets of images: the original positives created at Tadao Ando’s observatory in Casa Wabi, Oaxaca, where I was part of the artist-in-residence program, and the collection of stains and immaterial landscapes imprinted automatically as the film base was separated from the paper, which derive from this physical relationship as well as the action of time and chance. The first group shows a section of the sky as referenced by the architectonic stroke of the observatory while the second group seems to also frame the sky, now with stars, aurora borealis and constellations of chemical reactions.
If Dubois states that every photograph is a trace that presents an affirmation of existence but not of meaning, then these traces of traces, by distancing us almost completely from their point of origin, might affirm the radically liberating potential of abstraction.