Earthy Resilience
A study on the borders of Kintsugi

* Work in progress.

Can a photographer awake people consciousness in the silence of his darkroom? Can an artist repair a broken world from the solitude of his studio?
Limited by physical conditions and scarce economical resources, I can’t go out with my camera to the places where crucial events are happening.
But I think I can make use of a photographic open call to reach eyes, minds and hearts of sensitive beings, and then ask: who caused this critical situation? Nature? Humankind? Is Anthropocene real?
Catastrophes, wars, cataclysms… Even domestic and personal conflicts: no matter who or what caused this or that, we are responsible to heal the wounds.

I think of Earth as a vivid example of what is known as resilience, and that it’s time to restore at least what we’d done. We have to mend mistakes, to unite what was taken apart, and Kintsugi can teach us how to join borders.
Kintsugi is a beautiful metaphor of repair: to bond, to connect, to give a second chance for life.

When I think of everything we had broken, Kintsugi and its subtle art of joining borders comes to my mind. Kintsugi is both a very antique technique and an aesthetic concept created by Japanese artisans to repair and embellish -with varnishes and gold- broken porcelain pieces of art, tea bowls and vessels.
Once mended, scars and marks are not hidden: on the contrary, they become part of the new life of the object, dignifying it.

If there is a change of life paradigm, it should be in the humanities rather than in science. Hope is the only answer. Will is the only tool. Love, compassion and empathy are the triggers that can make us awake. And maybe art, too...

The time has come to mend cracks, to cauterize fissures and to understand resilience through a Kintsugi of life, taking the Earth in our hands with loving care. It’s all we have; it’s all we are.
These photographic series is my homage to those people who believe in second chances and put their hands to work.

Roberto Fernández Ibáñez
2017



About my technique

I pursue coherence between the idea of restoring the world and the photographic process employed for this series. As Kintsugi is a physical process, I put my hands in each photographic piece to encompass the expected patience and care to mend fragile things.
Handmade cliché-verre with soot, darkroom printed in Silver gelatin paper, then contact printed on FB Silver gelatin Fiber Base paper, gold pigment applied by hand.

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