personal histories {2021-2022]
adelaide, australia

personal histories

praxis artspace
adelaide, australia

‘Personal Histories’ is an upcoming project that contemplates what it means to hold ownership of one's own memories amidst media oversaturation. Drawing on the ephemeral experience of a mental image once seen, but not easily recalled… such as how an image circulates the world wide web.

Simon reached out to colleagues and strangers from around the world to propose a brief:

“To select a photograph from your own personal archives that has travelled with you for a long time and relates to a memory. Something of personal significance. The memory could be good or bad, positive or negative, of a time, a moment, an era.... an ex lover, a memory of a sensation or perhaps of what you don't want to forget…”

The photographers Simon reached out to are a mix of close friends, friends of friends, or strangers, which he provided no limits for what they shared. He asked them to not specify any background or context to these images. Used as a strategy to project ideas of what Simon knows versus assumptions that he makes of the images, where these opposing ideas are scrutinised. And to remove his subjectivity from choosing what to paint.

By subjecting the image to a latency unfamiliar to photography, reference images are painted over extended periods of time, allowing personal and often fragmentary memories to emerge in the paint and surface, and repeat across multiple works.

‘Personal Histories’ embodies these sensations of change and probes the complicated relationship between presence and representation. Raising the question: How do people grapple with their own histories in the current state of image and information saturation that spans across social sharing, culture and artificial news?

© Simon De Boer