ask / @ / nikolai-ishchuk / . / com
Closeness is as much a display as it is an affect. For a married couple or family, to show closeness is to present a narrative of happiness to the world, to validate its own existence. The photo album is the ultimate record of this performance, which is also made legible to others - in certain contexts it is even required as proof that a relationship is not fake. We are told that these ‘central relationships’ are the source and site of happiness, yet at the same time we know that closeness is not guaranteed. People stay together for all sorts of reasons, and there is always a possibility that the album is merely a cover-up for what is really managed distance and, at best, peripheral interaction.
The series consists of two components. One is pictures that look like ordinary family shots at first glance. However on closer inspection it becomes clear that they are somehow off: positioning of the subjects seems awkward, and there is a partial arm or another body part extending into and from the other side of the picture. These are based on found pictures of a family that have been rephotographed or otherwise copied, and then reworked. The ‘Offset’ command in Photoshop is used to shift the images to separate the figures (the number of pixels is recorded and used for the titles). The background is then blended back in, but the bodies are left to wrap around the edges.
Derived from a different subset of images, the other half is made of black cutouts of the negative space, rendered in household gloss. The emotional distance thus becomes palpable, the odd forms resembling crumbling pillars or in any case something badly misshapen.