A Place to Disappear

by Pablo Lerma

 

A Place to Disappear is a visual research-based project that explores man’s absence from the primitive landscape in the Earth. Imagining a near future, where the humans will disappear from this planet but comeback to Earth centuries later.

The project focuses on the traces of utopian landscapes in transformation and extinction, and combines them with vernacular photographs from expeditions in the 19th century that documented the same locations. The physical, conceptual, and emotional junctions between these two groups of images serve to create a new narrative.

Consequently, the sequence collapses space and time in a way that reflects the relationship between the archive and human memory. By capsizing the viewer’s expectations of a continuous story with a clear protagonist, the work’s open visual narrative also reveals the impossibility of a fixed landscape and taps into the viewers’ imaginations.

The unfixed environmental fragments in this project are conspicuously absence of humans, alluding to man’s disappearance from the primate landscape and echoing a longing to return to the physical world akin to that of nineteenth-century Romantics.

However, the limitless and expansive quality of the work proposes that the artist and viewer may create a new experiential universe together. Ultimately, A Place to Disappear suggests humans may transform their vanishing Earth into an open-ended Utopian macrocosm to which they may return.

 

About the author:

Pablo Lerma is an image-based artist and researcher living in New York. His artistic practice involves researching and collecting photographs, maps, drawings, illustrations, and geological material addressing concepts such as time, change, erosion, and extinction. His work takes various forms from photographic installation to publications.  

He holds a BFA in Painting and an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Barcelona, a Diploma in General Studies of Photography from the Institut d’Estudis Fotogràfics de Catalunya, Spain, and an MFA in Image & Text from Ithaca College in New York.

His work has been exhibited at Flowers Gallery (US), Konstanet (EE), Centro Huarte (ES), New York University (US), Fotoweek D.C. (US), SCAN International Festival of Photography (ES), La Fábrica (ES), and Fundació Foto Colectania (ES) among others. His books are in collections including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art-SFMoMA (US), Aeromoto (MX), Centro de la Imagen (MX), School of the Art Institute of Chicago (US), and the International Center of Photography in New York (US).  

He has been awarded by Fundació Guasch-Coranty (ES) and Sala d’Art Jove (ES) and nominated for the First Book Award MACK Editions (UK), Critical Mass (US), and PDN 30´s (US). His work has been featured at the British Journal for Photography (UK), Ain´t Bad Magazine (US), New York Foundation for the Arts (US), PDN Online (US) and PhotoInter China (CH).

He is a faculty member at the International Center of Photography in New York and a professor in photography at Kean University in New Jersey.

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