To Look is an Illusion

The speed of our time is completely different from all other times. Time, now at its limit, is zero, contemplation time; or it is maximum, rupture time, a time for new experiences and visual vertigo. In this impatient and the unending zapping era, where all vanguards have been exhausted; in this time of transition, of sensorial upheaval, it becomes very difficult to "stop" time to enjoy photography with absolute intensity, as the unforgettable souvenir of "our lives."

The power we still confer to photography is absolutely unquestionable. This may well be what's basic and magic about photography. A dubious and emotional relationship with the "real," or, as stated by the Argentinean poet Jorge Luis Borges, "our easy acceptance of reality may be due to our intuition that nothing is real."

Vilma Slomp's work, developed in the past 10 years, registers, with uniqueness and passion, popular manifestations from the city of Curitiba, typical of the Christmas season, and shows the photograph can be as striking as a dialectical truth between death and eternity. It is a mistake to "read" these images in a hurry: they require time and reflection. At these fleeting times, Curitiba, similarly to other Brazilian cities, is rapidly losing certain typical and other characteristics, as it enter globalization era, the world of superficiality and virtual relationships. Very keen on this process, Vilma went after recollections of old-time Italian, Polish, Ukrainian and German immigrants or their descendants.

Our technological and fast-moving world has awaken in Vilma the desire to capture this cultural manifestation seemingly displaced in time, as small fragments of every-day that arouse in contemporary citizen the capability of understanding life as a collection of details from a fantastic world. The documentary intention and the simplicity of the essay, in addition to technique, recreate new ways of seeing a traditional "naif" aesthetic manifestation, while preserving details that once belonged to an ephemeral universe.

Vilma knows how to value and how to contextualize her register: the lights and colors of this series of this series of photos unveil the imagination with intimacy and daintiness. Talented as she is, Vilma aimed at documenting and creating a narrative for the beauty in Christmas decorations, as if she were both the eye and the sensitive memory of an anonymous spectator, attempting the process immortal both as experience and knowledge. This work takes us to memory's universe of illusions and mysteries.

In book Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes says that "In this monotonous moment, a photograph suddenly appears: it animates me and I animate it. Thus this is the way should call the attraction that brings it into existence: animation.

A photograph in itself is not animated (I don't believe in "live" photographs), but it animates me. This is what all adventures do. "This is the photographer's magic: to create an image is to establish an ecstatic relationship with the reader. Vilma photographed with imagination, she was able to keep the mystery of the forms that both suggests and involve the spectator. All of us can see ourselves in the simplicity of the arrangement and in the doors, windows, and gardens that, juxtaposed, bring to light a vibrant and harmonious contour.

This is one of the city's recollections that Vilma was able to capture in this essay, which once again is materialized in a book. In history's counter-flow, concerned with man's daily losses, Vilma set out to accomplish a photographic work that gives legitimacy to the idea that photography has become one of this century's most sensitive and popular means of expression. She developed her essay thinking about images as fragments of a map that doesn't exist, and which is (re)invented everyday.

The photographer's delicate precision shifted seeming documentation into a fantastic universe. The scene's decor converses with the Christmas decorations: colors, textures, plans, and lines establish inexplicable relationships among themselves, the characterizing the numerous dynamic featuring reading possibilities provided by photography. This is all so "real", that in this universe saturated with clichés and repetitions, contemporaryness is highlighted. The experience of time can be demonstrated in many numerous ways.

Vilma chose static, referential, traditional photography, to create estrangement. Images are duplicated, multiplied, repeated as if in their collectiveness they could point out at the visibility and transparency inherent to the understanding of those who look at them, without the emptiness of nostalgic looking.

Vilma was aware of the precious documentary function of her work for the history of this city, and at the same time, she succeeded in capturing an intimate atmosphere, with disquieting simplicity. Eternalized through photography, Curitiba's popular Christmas manifestations will live forever.

William Faulkner accidentally created an excellent definition of photography when he wrote "the artist's goal is to stop definition of photography when he wrote that: "the artist goal is to stop movement, which is life, through artificial means and keep it fixed in that one hundred years later, when maybe a stranger looks at it, it will move again, because it is life."


Rubens Fernandes Jr/1998