Photography is ultimately about loss and absence. Consider pictures of friends and relatives, for example. They might depict happy moments — birthdays, weddings, days on the beach, etc. but we would only look at them when the people present in the photographs are not around us.
They might have popped out to the shops for an hour or they might be gone for a few months to study at university, the timespan is not of the essence; what matters is that we want that memento of their presence, of their being, to remind us of their existence and that they will eventually, hopefully, return. In a nutshell, the presence of the photograph and our very act of looking at it symbolizes the absence of what it depicts.
Karin van de Wiel’s Presence in the Absence takes desolated buildings and structures as its starting point. Devoid of human presence, albeit designed and constructed by humans, these are places that were once the product of a utopian vision.
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