HOLY REVIEWER - Martyrs, Saints and Sinners of Contemporary Photography
After having experienced several portfolio reviews, I began to read into what, for me, is an association between reviewers and saints, developing a concept based on my perception of the reviewing process. The project that resulted from this concept proposes a space for reflection between artists, reviewers and festival organizers that may lead to new forms of interaction beneficial to all.
Over and over again, I saw myself, anxious and nervous, standing in front of the reviewer for twenty minutes, showing my portfolio and hoping that it will turn into a viable future. I felt as if I were in the presence of a “saint”, ready to hear my “request and vows”. I prayed that something positive would result from this: an award, an exhibition, a book, space in a magazine etc. Regarding the reviewer as someone endowed by an institution, foundation, gallery or publishing house with a “supreme power” has to do, of course, with my subjectivity as an artist.
The use of Catholic saints in my Project stems from my Brazilian origins where this religion is predominant; thus, it is my personal interpretation of Faith that has set the stage where Art, Saints and Reviewers meet and share their struggle to surpass the trials that will eventually lead them to “fulfillment”.
Saints, Artists and Reviewers alike must walk the road of permanent conquest –candidates to “sainthood” are subject to various levels of scrutiny and evaluation of their “miracles” in order to be canonized by the Church, and so must the Artist go through his own ordeal in order to be “canonized” by the Reviewer.
At the same time, the Reviewer must share in the same Faith for his own “fulfillment”: constantly attending Festivals, acquiring new academic credits, publishing articles and accumulating awards. His success depends on the Artist’s talent as they climb the ladder to reputation and recognition hand-in-hand.
So, as an Artist, I expect professional “miracles” from my Reviewer and he, in turn, must have faith in his choice of talent in order to obtain the financial support required to turn a concept into a successful reality that will benefit us both. The definition of Faith that stems from the Latin fides is what ultimately binds us together. “Believing”, between Artist and Reviewer, means accepting the other as empowered with the authority of truth, knowledge and talent.
I believe that human and divine Faith can share the same space and nurture each other. Faith is the meeting ground for your encounter with and commitment to your personal God; it happens not on the evidence of a thing seen, but rather on the strength of the person that “sees” and can only be transmitted through our testimonies.
Thaís Medina (Brazil, 1978) has spent the last fourteen years researching and working on conceptual-photographic documentations about visual representations that are generated from the Afro-Brazilian religious practices, and her own creeds and superstitions. From a documentary perspective and with an anthropological viewpoint, the intention is to deconstruct these representations in order to understand the various influences that nourish.
Her works are being developed and exhibited in Brazil, Spain, England, Ireland, Hungary and Georgia. One of her latest collaboration was in The Tate Gallery, in Sydney (Australia), in 2013. At the present time she divides her work between Latin America and Europe, looking research topics and collaborations in these two continents.