Memory Preservation

The work titled Memory Preservation consists of 14 negative 4×5” film sheets of Ljubljana Cemeteries. All the shots were taken on the night of November 1 – on the All Saints’ Day, a public holiday in Slovenia – when people light candles in memory of the deceased. Only one color negative sheet was taken on each cemetery. In the dark room, each undeveloped negative was inserted between two glass plates. The inside layers of the plates were painted black, in order to keep the light from reaching the film and destroying it through overexposure.

pokopalisca_mapa                                          Ljubljana - cemetery map


The title Memory preservation refers to the paradoxical nature of the work: in order to preserve the recorded image, the image must remain unseen. The attempt to see the picture would have to involve the separation of the glass plates, resulting in overexposure of the film and destruction the work. The image can be preserved only if it remains invisible. Behind the »black curtain«, there is no image, no memory photograph, only an inscription of light on an undeveloped negative – and precisely while there is nothing to be seen, the memory itself is preserved. Burning candles illuminate the film – this light is captured on the film and preserved. The act of taking a photo is trying to repeat the act of lighting a candle and perpetuates the act of remembering in the absence of the remembered object.


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