In A Series of Reactions Volume I (ASoR vol. I), Lara departs from eight torn photographs picked up and bought from a thrift shop on the same day. Some of the images are snapshots taken at dinner parties; some are posed scenes from celebrations or nature excursions. And only one photograph is devoid of people—it’s a photograph of a grandiose building, with its perfect reflection on the water. Lara scans these photographs and frames them within a black background, hinting at an absence of light. These photographs are not crumpled—they are carefully torn by hand or cut with scissors. An act I would immediately call violent.
I’ve never torn a printed photograph in my life. I simply didn’t print out the ones I would be embarrassed of, or hid them in secret corners of my room; I never tried to tear them. It’s probably my—perhaps—naïve belief in the sanctity of printed images. So I can only speculate on the intention. Could it be to hide information? Or to remove an unwanted individual from memory? Or it might be simply to perfect the image by discarding so-called redundant details—all implying a discontinuity in recollection. In ASoR vol. I, Lara does not attempt to recover these interrupted memories, yet she rehabilitates the photographs by juxtaposing them with her individualized painterly responses.
Lara matches every photograph with two identical drawings that refrain from the figurative—they evoke the lines, shades, and the silhouettes in the found images. One of them, “manipulation,” is put against the same dark background as the found image, and the other, the “chance,” shows glimpses of light that enters through the scanner’s cover—leaving traces of different grays behind, depending on the weather and the time of the day. ASoR vol. 1 begins with a somehow distanced search, pursuit for unknown images, and subsequently becomes highly intimate and personalized as Lara interprets the photographs by abstracting them. Here she does not decipher the found images, but rather finds a way to own them.
All images: Lara Ögel, “A Series of Reactions Volume I (ASoR vol. 1),” 2012. Found photography, acrylic on paper.
Lara Ögel (B. 1987, İzmir) acquired her BA from Clark University, Worcester, MA. Since then she’s enrolled in the Summer Foundation Program in Slade School of Fine Art in London. Currently she is working on her first solo exhibition at the artist initiative space UN-KNOWN. Lara lives and works in Istanbul. laraogel.com // unknownonline.org