Photographs are traditionally looked at as if they are transparent. The idea is that one usually doesn’t look at the photographic surface, but rather through it to contemplate the scene an image presents in all its detail. This transparency of the medium serves many purposes, specifically, it enables the photographic image to function as the universal communicative language it is today.
Yet, a photograph cannot exist without a physical carrier. In Surfaces (2021-ongoing), Lithuanian artist-researcher Paulius Petraitis focuses on and examines the exterior side of photographs. Emphasising the materiality of the screen and print, images are here doubly distorted. Taking isolated moments and scenes from films as his source material, Petraitis re-photographs them adding multiple layers of analogue and digital intervention. Something – a hand gesture, a car’s headlights, rubber boots – gets cut out from its habitat of temporal continuity and is frozen into an image that is given new possibilities of meaning. Despite visible distortions, taken all together the images weave an imaginary narrative, one that is suggestive of a cosmic story.
Surfaces is Petraitis’ first solo exhibition in Latvia and is produced in collaboration with Sam Margevicius and Gailė Griciūtė.
Participants: Paulius Petraitis (LT), Sam Margevicius (LT), Gailė Griciūtė (LT)
Image: Paulius Petraitis, Skin-deep, 2021