Look inside  

Vilma Slomp’s news series of photos shifts from the recurrent topic of pain to the even more intimate universe of black and white images. It is as if the artist’s effort of self-knowledge, this slow digging of buried insights, could only fully originate from a deliberate act of resisting to any external allurement.

The artist searched for a sharper digging tool to penetrate the reserve side of things, the scar embroidered by memory of severance and loss.

The first image in the series, My mother’s Navel, is also the only one to deal directly with the territory of the body. All others, although a metaphor of sensations experienced by the soul or by the skin, forgo any depiction and incide upon what is symbolic or upon the body’s vestige that clings to that clings to other objects. Despite the descriptive title that could limit its field of action. My mother’s Navel is one of the most meaningful images of all. This primordial navel, an eyeless lid, is the key to the intend meaning: a look within. It is a sign of severance and loss, that is, the gory but vital rupture of the cord that unites the generator and its fruit.

As in other series of photos in this book, most of the images are made of flowers. The one in color however, focus the thorns, dried boughs, and withered petals. Conversely, in black and white series the focus incides more emphatically upon the apogee ephemeral beauty. Fixing in fleeting that secludes them from death. This time, the celebration of life triumphs over the inventory of sorrows that surround it.

Some of the most inspired moments in the series are achieved when Vilma gives the flowers the status of bodies as in Fallopian Flowers or GLS. It’s then that we see more clearly how well she masters the use of light in her work. She uses light to gracefully outline things, and to confer refinement to the composition. Here, the photographer adds the resource of translucency and built space. And the evidence of construction, the graphic concept that will stake out the elements configuration is not obliterated. This is more evident in Rhyme of Roses. The underlying artwork may also spring to the foreground, as in the light graphism on Electric Transvaal Daisy.

And, of course, there would have to be a few tributes to Art History. Like the inclusion of the Russian advance guard in the process used to obtain the image in Delight, and the explicit homage to Marcel Duchamp (Anthurium Descendant un Escalier). As a matter of fact, an almost metalingüistic homage since it evolves the History of Photography. To paint his famous paint his famous Nu descendant un escalier(1912),Duchamp sought inspiration in the work of photographers that first studied movement, like the British Edward Muybridge (1830-1904) and the French Etienne-Jules Marey (1830-1904).

Vilma Slomp knows how to detach herself from the mimetic and analogical image in order to work with the remains of an existential relationship, of being in the world. And in using such vocabulary of signs and symbols she herself is moved, and moves us by expressing some of the sensations (painful or joyous) so essential to life.


  Angélica de Moraes / 1998