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Blood Remembering


© Juan Fabuel


year: 2010


edition 5: 98 x 125 cm / 64 x 80 cm + 2 AP


archival pigment print on dibond



Blood Remembering started the day my father told me that he would love to visit Rome once recovered from his illness.
He died a few months later leaving his travel unaccomplished. The loss left behind so many indescribable feelings, some of them containing the concept "unfinished". This sensation of not being able to get some things done in time led me to a very fragile state of mind. No one should leave unsolved things behind.

Some time later I got to read some fragments of Rainer Maria Rilke. The author wandered about the aesthetical need to travel in order to accumulate experiences and memories that shape the life of an artist. This thought called Blood Remembering in his own words, made me realize about my duty as an artist to finish the unfinished.

I would be the one traveling to Rome; I would be the one observing the city instead of him.

The project consists of a number of self-portraits in different locations around the city of Rome, evoking the notion of a trip diary. Images are placed in between the performing act, romanticism and the photographic representation of my own personal experience. By looking to the scene, I stress the distance between the camera, the subject without identity and the observed.

Every journey involves a certain amount of things to be remembered and a few to be forgotten. The necessity to keep such things in a safe place, away from the protecting dynamics of oblivion, enhances what we are in a very specific moment of our lives.

I materialized these thoughts in the second part of my project by doing an installation of ice. I used ice bricks that contained frozen photographs inside to shape this behaviour of not letting go. Every brick had an image inside belonging to somebody else's trip and the water used to freeze them was rainwater collected during my stay in Rome.

My intention was to add a dynamic dimension to the memories frozen already in paper. The wall of ice melted and a flooded gallery with rainwater and some photographic memories glued together were left, challenging the viewer to take the next step.

I wanted the viewer to dare and touch the remains of my journey. Trying to unglue the photographs with their own hands meant to break the paper in a random way. Breaking those photographs meant to tear the memories apart, because in a way, we cannot control the things that we want to remember.
This action taken by the viewers finished my project.

At the end everything was about letting things go, even the ones that we want to keep frozen for ourselves.


installations views

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upcoming: publications The Earth Issue and Losthenfound