The Value of Reality: Emotional Works by Amelia Modrak
In a World that is more and more focussed on perfection, where every flaw is concealed (or annihilated) until any inkling of authenticity or realism has been swept away, then the following question arises: “Won’t we be devaluing our essence? Won’t we be dangerously sliding towards a tragic idealism, which distances us further from Nature, and thus, from ourselves?”.
With these series of raw, simple and literally unphotoshopped photographs, I wanted to reflect on the meaning of surrounding reality not only from the aesthetic, but also from the psychological or emotional point of view. A reality that is not always appreciated as it is, and whose beauty is often ignored.
Thus, I tried to capture the scenes of everyday life that caused me some type of emotion. Living in a world that is increasingly resilient towards emotions – or that transforms them into a shallow, and sometimes fake, neurophysiological sub-product – the beauty (i.e. emotion) of everyday life seems to be a matter of the past or to belong to a pre-modern era.
Would it be because our concept of beauty has dramatically been changed over time? That is a question that can only be answered by ourselves, given the subjectivity of the term. But, away from the media influences, deep down to our core we all know that there are no parameters for beauty. We create or destroy them depending on how close or far we personally feel towards them, or depending on the emotion that we get when interacting with them. Beauty is a reminder of love and thus it could be traced back to our childhood, or maybe, to our innermost longing for affection.
When I say “I captured” these images, I feel as if I sounded somehow pretentious because, actually, it was these images who captured me. And with this what I mean is that the beauty of reality goes beyond our capacity of capturing it with a camera. The more we try to make it clear, evident, idealistically perfect – as it is – the more we distort it. Technical manipulation is the norm nowadays, but I ask: Is it for the better?
As an artist, this might be my particular crusade against the denial of daily reality’s beauty. I believe we need to get closer to reality in order to grow and get to know ourselves. Far from being a mediocre trip, in my opinion, the emotional journey of conscientiously observing and acknowledging reality can bring us closer to our deepest (and even metaphysical) essence, and lead us to see what we really are: an infinite connection.
Finding the beauty in the mystery of reality is thus a creative exercise accessible to everyone, like some of the greatest writers throughout history, such as Franz Kafka or Gabriel Garcia Márquez, taught us. On the other hand, as David Hume postulated, reality is a means of knowledge. Thereby, getting away from it can only make us ignorant.
We need to watch reality creatively, not destroy it or transform it into a plastic archetype. The hidden wonders of reality are waiting for us to discover. So let’s acknowledge and embrace reality. Doing so could be the starting point to change our World for the better.
Amelia’s work is on view until the end of May 2016
in the Art and Design Library (Central Library)
7 George IV Bridge
Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH1 1EG