UNTITLED RUINS
(2019)


UNTITLED RUINS documents the remains of three vast empires (Bonampak, Pompeya and Qin Shi Huang´s Mausoleum) by forcing the processor of a digital camera. The resulting images are traces of constructions. In them we perceive the referred object as much as the structure behind the instrument that pretends to document it. 

How do we build an image of something we can hardly see?

The objective of ruin studies is to recover and assess material remains and architectural structures from the past in order to study ancient knowledge. Marks, traces and material elements give account of social organization, tradition and customs from ancient populations.

This project is composed by potographed ruins that belong to three historical sites from three different empires: Bonampak, archaeological site from the mayan culture in Chiapas state, Mexico; the Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum, where the first emperor of the unified China lays; and Pompei, an ancient Rome city buried by the violent eruption of Vesuvius volcano.

The remains of this historical constructions reveals hints of what they where and of that wich they are no more. They are an evidence that something happened in these places making their remembrance important. We could think photography working in a similar approach. In its most elementary feature, photography deals with documenting a fact, a place or a person performing any action. Photography documents something that happened and that will not be repeated.

That which we see in a photography, occured.

Caves, doors, cracks, fissures, ornaments, vases, silhouettes, sculptures, skulls, stairs, columns, walls, rocks, ceilings, floors, writings, spears, weapons, shadows, iluminations, masks, armors, paintings...

All of that, or nothing of it.

Upon this undefined, ambiguous and strange images, we can only try to rebuild something with the unclear idea of its possible reference. What we see are not ruins, but constructions of an image. This display empowers the viewer, forcing it to think and reconstruct what the image can offer refering to the destroyed constructions. After watching various of this images, the reference becomes more and more confusing, and the patterns of the camera sensor are revealed clearly. This marks are produced by the effort of the camera sensor dealing with situations of great physical demand.

This is not a ruin.
The subject is not the theme.
Photography lies.
The only truth is fiction.




Manuel A. Fernandez