Helena Civit Kopeinig
(Villach, Austria, 1997)
—Installation Carrer de Joaquim Blume (Map)
The title of this project, Haus und all (House and Universe), alludes to Chapter II in the philosopher Gaston Bachelard’s superb essay The Poetics of Space. As Bachelard observes, our home is our corner of the world, and the family home is our first universe. The house is a universe that protects us and gives the illusion of stability.
As we know, human beings constantly reimagine and rewrite their reality, their microcosm.
Although she lives in Catalonia, Helena Civit has also spent several periods of time in her mother's village in the south of Austria, a rural summer resort in the Alps. In her work, this personal, fragmentary experience of the territory – a home that is never fully known – inspires photographic exploration. Somewhere between the intimate diary and the documentary gaze, between belonging and intruding, from the threshold between inhabiting and observing, she conjures up a vision of a landscape that is already oversignified, full of connotations and clichés, rich in consolidated narratives. In doing so, she presents a landscape formed by emotionally, culturally and ideologically charged layers among which we intuit something living, unexpected. Here, photography is a tool with which to observe the texture of a place and time, rich in symbols, echoes and shadows.
On the one hand, there is the will to portray – and even to catalogue or take stock of a universe of forms – materials, customs, patterns, gestures, ornaments and so on, like a glossary and personal archaeology. On the other, there is the drive to investigate the construction of a territory through its symbols and marks, and to question the very idea of belonging.