The collective title of the catalogue which generously covers all 43 artists/photographers featured in very different exhibitions in six European capitals of the EMoP network has the advantage of not being too specific about what they have in common or what distinguishes them. The vast majority of these artists is concerned with recalling the painful events and aftermaths of the major European conflicts that marked the twentieth century. More recently, the Balkan conflicts.
Others address the history of immigration and related issues of the origins of people, their identity, family or regional history, which is another way of addressing memory. How should the contemporary photography of the seven countries constituting the EMoP network in 2014 define itself in relation to a past that it is supposed to tell or represent? It is a difficult question. In particular it raises – beyond the cultural differences and particularities that characterize individual nations and cultural entities – the question of the veracity of the facts it tells, potential travesties or diversions in their social and political context. Art is no exception.
All memory is selective, and the artist draws attention this or that event, forgets about others and proceeds to tweak what is shown.
Originally, photography replaced painting and literature through an unmatched quality: its capacity to represent “reality”. The function of the photograph was to give credit, by means of a suitable picture, to what the journalist was writing about. It was supposed to rid the reader of any doubt and guarantee that truth was being brought to him through the photographic image.