Disappearance


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Over the course of a week Delphine Burtin (1974, Switzerland) collected, archived and photographed every object that she would have normally thrown away.

"My photographs can be seen as contemporary vanities rather than as ecological moralising," Burtin explains. "In my work, I refer back to the still life painters of the 17th and 18th centuries who sought to transmit the idea of the futility of accumulating possessions in the face of death."

Through the dark under-exposed tones and that suffuse her prints and the spartan compositions, Burtin captures the aesthetics of futility perfectly. Each object that she places in front of the camera becomes a memento mori to the future failure of life and the systems it created. What also becomes apparent is the paradoxical reaction to this knowledge that humans have, such as how consumerism creates objects that will outlive any of us, even if their utility is only for a few brief moments.

Burtin says: "In our society, there's no place for what is not considered useful or beautiful. Anything that might disturb us is voluntarily rejected."

Here she finds a way to visually meditate on permanence and disposability, triggering us to consider: that plastic packaging that contained your food while it was transported and sold? It could still be around in a few thousand years, long after you've left the mortal coil…


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