Saturday, September 20, 2008
Not about Nostalgia
Copyright Matias Aguilar
In regards to the pictures I take a number of people have asked me if I believed that my work reflected a nostalgic view that I wanted to convey to the viewer. Basically, I believe nostalgia to be the least interesting aspect I would like to discuss. I never encountered a discussion about it that was faintly productive, which come to think of it is no surprise, really. Nostalgia as an integer part of artwork is just too obviously problematic. Too many such works automatically seem out of touch and as a likely indication of an unwillingness to face the current ways of dealing with today’s processes of making art… Thanks to the recently published book by the late Italian photographer Luigi Ghirri “It’s beautiful here, isn’t it…” I was able to read some refreshing views on nostalgia and I absolutely love the fact that I do not have to discuss it.
I admit it; in my wildest dreams I would not have been able to come up with anything as good as the following quote...In his essay ’Endless Worlds: On William Eggleston’ Ghirri quotes writer Gianni Celati:
For many ”nostalgia is an ugly word, a sign of mental weakness. However, I can’t find another one to describe what I don’t have, and at the same time it presents itself as a liberation. I have nostalgia for a feeling, because it seems to be free of sentiments that are tangled up in ugly thoughts. I have nostalgia for a narrative tone that ties me to others, because all I know how to write are things that are separate from the things of others. The true, strong feeling that I have might be described as that of being lost. Not me in particular, as an individual. Instead it is a state of things that I seem to see everywhere.
And the longer I am in a city – Paris, for example – the more I am convinced that being lost is the true feeling that I have around me, the liveliest thing that exists. I often go back to reading Sartre, who says: “Only filthy wretches don’t feel lost.”