signposts

This is a drawing of a found photograph. Of the back of a photograph. I can’t remember where I got this photograph, in which flea market, in which city or for that matters, in which country even. The image on the front showed a seascape with mountains, there were not identifying landmarks. But in the back, it was hand-written “La Coruña”. So I bought the photograph. I was collecting old postcards at the time, looking for postcards that did not stated which place they showed.

I was born in La Coruña. I don’t know if I bought the photograph for myself or for my work. It was an anonymous image, but the message on the back automatically transformed the landscape into a familiar place, a personal place, a place belonging to my own personal history. But no less elusive for that. The image was still not mine, and I still didn’t recognize the landscape. But I could now inhabit the image in a different way. I could bring my own narrative to the photograph. Although this narrative would be also partly remembered, partly imagined. I know it wasn’t a melancholic impulse what drove me to make the drawing.

Choosing the back instead of the front image, rejecting the landscape itself. I think I wanted to concentrate on the negation of familiarity, the impossibility of feeling nostalgic about the image, to focus on the stranger’s writing. The two narratives (its original owner’s story and my imposed one) would have to be ignored or at less hidden from view. So I hid the landscape. And left only the “signpost”.

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