Containment Sold as Protection
This photograph is part of the artist's ongoing photo series Back Dirt. In archeological terminology, “back dirt” refers to the excavated, discarded material—such as sediment and soil—from a site that has generally been sifted for artifacts; this refuse is presumed to be of no further archaeological significance.
In 2018, Vainsencher found a stack of pages from an old French archeology book. In these pages, many objects had been meticulously cut out by an unknown person. The Back Dirt series involves photographing stacks of these pages with the holes piled atop each other—creating images that both replicate the chaos of an archeological dig while also coming together into new hybrid forms. The artist prints the resulting photographs much larger than the original pages, revealing the materiality of the cuts and tears in the paper. The prints appear to be in black-and-white at first glance; a longer look reveals the subtleties of the slightly yellowing paper or the bluish shadows the pages cast on one another.
In this composition, the artist took a photograph that had been turned into an object and returned it to a photo format. This series is a counterpart to Vainsencher’s additional ceramic practice, which draws from both historical vessels and the feminine body. In the artist's work, there is a celebration of evolving fragility.
Gabriela Vainsencher’s practice encompasses photography, video, sculpture and drawing. Through these mediums, the artist variously explores the feminine body, the archeological record, historical ceramic crafts and photography’s status as an object—among other conceptual lineages. Vainsencher frequently creates new hybrid forms that embrace the chaos inherent in our experience of history, works that celebrate their own fragility.
This photo was made by stacking cut-up pages from an archeology book with the holes piled atop each other—creating images that both replicate the chaos of an archeological dig while also creating new hybrid forms. This blown-up print, appearing at first to be black-and-white, reveals the subtleties of the slightly yellowing paper or the bluish shadows the pages cast on one another.More
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