This untitled series by Emma Smids is all about memories. For her, memories hold a special fascination, because they are like dreams: an unconscious flow of moods, images and representations. Smids uses a technique of double exposures to create layers in her images, representing the layers our memories have. Memories always harbour other memories. They always entail a mystery or a desire. We carry our memories with us, but they never share their secrets. The double exposure technique Smids employs leaves room for coincidence, because memories are not created deliberately either. This way, her work gains layers of meaning which are never fixed.
The results of this process are monochrome, two-dimensional works without a clear perspective. The images are made up of chaotic black, white and grey lines and planes. These are cut-outs, because these realities do not only exist within the images, but continue outside the frame. Ever since Smids was a child, she designed worlds of her own made of scraps and objects she found on her grandmother’s farm. The viewer wanders through these landscapes of memories the photographer constructed, amidst assembled fragments and anonymous and still objects. We change and therefore our memories change. Sometimes this gives us the eerie feeling that the past does not exist. Because of Smids’ experience of researching this topic for years, this series can be seen as a personal diary, in which she looks at herself with amazement. Smids’ work shows many similarities to abstract and monochrome traditions, as well as early cubism.
Emma Smids (1988, NL) graduated from Minerva Academy in Groningen in 2016 in the Art in Education Programme.