Mon 16 January 2017

João Tabarra in Karlsruhe: 24 failed attempts to 'build' a postcard

Photographer João Tabarra travelled to Karlsruhe to make a portrait of the city in 24 photos. At the time he knew little of the place and he decided to use the postcard image as a starting point to discover the city of Karlsruhe. Have a look at his '24 failed attempts to 'build' a postcard' and read João's explanation of his intentions behind the photos here.

© João Tabarra - Scloss, Karlsruhe
© João Tabarra - Schloss, Karlsruhe

I knew little of the city at the time and this would be a privileged opportunity

"When I received the invitation to develop a photographic project of the city of Karlsruhe, I gladly accepted it. I knew little of the city at the time – the HFG University, the ZKM Museum, but little else – and this would be a privileged opportunity to embrace an experience that has always been shaping my work. For more than twenty years, I’ve been developing my projects within a framework in which I think of the image, its signified, its signifier and its weight as representation and as manipulation, and see its politics and its role as objects of fragmented communication.

For two months I roamed the streets of Karlsruhe trying to develop a degree of proximity with the city, trying to unveil it. I was never a so-called “street photographer” and what I ended up coming across, in Karlsruhe, were monuments, architectural borders which shape the city through economic differentiations, and the urban routines dictated by history and geography.

I decided to use the postcard as a code, as a possibility to create a space for me to discover the city and for the city to reveal itself.

I decided to use the postcard as a code, as a possibility to create a space for me to discover the city and for the city to reveal itself. I ended up coming across rituals, which I photographed in a performative perspective, with which I attempted to corrode certain symbols and a certain iconography, giving the limelight to places which are usually not thought of as being ‘places of interest’ and allowing them to become other sort of monuments.

The character that bursts through the sharply fragmented language is not the author nor is his presence in any way biographical. The character is simply a prospective Karlsruhe citizen.

Finally, I would like to add that the option to ground this project on the codes of the postcard image was essential as a way to deepen the image itself through the use of a popular – and, I would risk saying, absolute – language."

Have a look at João Tabarra's complete series 24 failed attempts to 'build' a postcard


© João Tabarra - Scloss, Karlsruhe
© João Tabarra - Hot mountain and standing man, Karlsruhe

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