„When I first encountered Boris’ work, I felt captivated and a bit disoriented at first. Then I realised that I needed to abandon all preconceptions and look further than what my eyes allowed me to see. His photographs felt as windows to my inner reality … They take you to limbo, an in-between dimension where you can’t distinguish between real and fictional, foreground and background, clear and blurry … Boris’ Poems gently made me realise that it’s darkness that really allows us to be free, to imagine, to see the unseen. Sometimes even to have enlightenments. Light becomes, in his pictures, an incredible means of showing and hiding at the same time.“ Grazie and compliments for this beautiful essay, Anna Martini! Thanks to Artconnect Berlin for this feature:
Spotlight on Boris Eldagsen
by Anna Martini May 22, 2015
Going beyond the limits. Exploring the unconscious and losing yourself into it. Finding your own path by following intuition, rather than reason. “THE POEMS – How to disappear completely” are a bridge to the unknown. We had the pleasure to meet Boris Eldagsen at Kommunale Galerie on a Sunday afternoon, and it was an intense and inspiring experience. Open your inner eyes and follow us into his world.
When I first encountered Boris’ work, I felt captivated and a bit disoriented at first. Then I realised that I needed to abandon all preconceptions and look further than what my eyes allowed me to see. His photographs felt as windows to my inner reality, the shapes created by light and shadows as an invitation to find my own meaning and get lost into the undefined space between sparks. What if darkness, rather than light, was the key to widen our vision? Have you ever wondered why you sometimes feel an irresistible attraction to the obscure, the mysterious, the unknown? “The Poems” will evoke in you feelings and thoughts that will help you come closer to an answer.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite”. William Blake’s words perfectly depict our strive to see more, to expand our understanding of everything that seems unlimited. But the truth our eyes perceive is just the top of the iceberg. It’s our unconscious that gives us access to a deeper level, makes us come closer to ourselves and consequently to the world around us.
The Poems are filled with mysticism, philosophy, even psychoanalysis. They take you to limbo, an in-between dimension where you can’t distinguish between real and fictional, foreground and background, clear and blurry. There is no story, as the images don’t describe a reality with a beginning and an end. Instead, as poems usually do, they exceed any rational purpose and move the viewers’ imagination and emotional responsiveness.
Years of art and philosophy studies, great intuitiveness towards human beings and a truly unique approach to photography are the forces moving the artist’s focus towards the creation of an experience, rather than something physical or tangible. His art triggers your unconscious, gives you the inputs to explore your inner universe and awakes different, sometimes contradicting feelings in you.
Without darkness there would be no light. Without bad there would be no good. Without Yin there would be no Yang. The concept of “Coincidentia oppositorum”, i.e. the interpenetration, interdependence and unification of opposites, helps getting a further insight and understanding the creative process underlying Boris’ works. “Like Goethe’s Faust, I pursue “whatever holds the world together in its inmost folds” to create pictures that are inaccessible to the rational mind, compelling the viewer to turn to their own memories and feelings.” His words confirm his artistic intent to make you flow into a fluid reality, where opposites harmonically coexist, merge and give rise to new forms. Structures and separations, everything we think we need to feel safe and fastened, lose their meaning.
How to disappear completely
“I’m not here / This isn’t happening / I’m not here, I’m not here // In a little while / I’ll be gone / The moment’s already passed / Yeah, it’s gone“. Does this recall something for you? The subtitle of this meta-series made me instantly think about Radiohead’s song. It might sound like an attempt to stretch connections, yet I did wondered whether I could find a relation between them. What I figured out is that, more or less directly, both Boris’ works and Thom Yorke’s words remind us that everything is temporary. Today we are here, but who knows about tomorrow? Can we help ourselves facing such uncertainty by getting lost?
With his video works, Boris provides us even further explorations into a timeless human phenomenon that concerns us all: the urge to lose ourselves. “In referring to this phenomenon as either ‘Mysticism’ (Religion), ‘Transpersonality’ (Psychology), ‘Desire to Escape’ (Huxley) or ‘Transgression’ (Bataille), there has always been a redemptive mode to being human. As we can all disappear into something larger or smaller, phenomenon can come in a positive or negative form, upward or downward: drugs, love, sex, hypnosis, religion, mass events, extreme sports etc. The list is endless, depending on time, culture and imagination. Each video and installation belonging to this body of work is therefore called THE SCHOOL OF ( high, cybersex, spam, magic, communication, time, hope, tears).”
Words seem to me not to be enough to describe Boris Eldagsen’s world. His works made me change and enrich my perspective on photography and art. My interest used to be mainly focused on the way photographers “draw with light” and I used to feel as if darkness was keeping me from seeing, perceiving. But Boris’ Poems gently made me realise that it’s darkness that really allows us to be free, to imagine, to see the unseen. Sometimes even to have enlightenments. Light becomes, in his pictures, an incredible means of showing and hiding at the same time.
Boris photographs only after the sun has set – “So that all the unwanted details are left out.” The night before our meeting he was introducing to the five participants of his workshop “Das Licht der Nacht” (“The light of the night”) the mysteries and wonders of night photography. We joined them in the process of seeing and evaluating the results, and I was truly amazed by the outcomes of their experience (you can see them here). I feel thankful for having seen “behind the scenes” of Boris’ working process, but most of all for having learned that what you see is, very often, not what you think it is. May this be for you a starting point to abandon certainties and welcome illusions.