Mali Obscura




2 minutes reading

I know the place
It is true
Everything we do
Corrects the space
Between death and me
And you
- Harold Pinter

According to Christien Jaspars (1964) this poem reflects her photography, which partly consists of creating poetically composed photographs that deal with the experience of love and personal loss.

Kahmann Gallery recently exhibited DO, a breathtaking black and white and colour photographic orchestra. With DO, Jaspars’ own processing of love and personal loss is very tangible, yet there are no sad images but rather thrilling pictures shrouded in mystery. If you’re willing to look, there’s a lot going on in the photos.

Jaspars travels extensively for her work. Her favourite destinations are the Arab world and Africa. For this series she returned to Mali, where she could focus on the essential questions grief invokes.

The most outstanding aspect of this work is the correlation between Jaspars’ working method and the concept itself. For DO she used a pinhole camera, a simple box without a lens. Since the exposure times are long, the passage of time is caught in the image. There is little control; you don’t actually make the picture, it is rendered by the time that elapses. DO therefore is an attempt to capture time, while simultaneously highlighting the fact that we as human beings simply aren’t and never will be able to get a grip on this phenomenon. The series is also about moving on and the unbearable transience of life. The unity between the thoughts behind the photos and the method of photographing enhances the personal and intimate yet powerful character of her striking images.

Noorderlicht, home of the Dutch international photo festival biennale, photo gallery and publisher Aurora Borealis, was moved by DO and published the images as a book in 2007. For collectors, Jaspars’ own Kahmann Gallery (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) has now made handmade silver prints available for purchase, presented in a striking 100 x 100 cm format, in an edition of seven. Prices start at €3.000.

Jaspars’ autonomous photography, her traditional documentary work and visual poems have been showcased internationally. In 2001 she won the second prize in the category Art of the World Press Photo and last May she won the Grand Prix at Polish photo festival Lodz with her series DO.