The enigmatic impressions of Rosana Schoijett

By Gabriela Schevach

Rosana Schoijett is not only a good photographer capable of producing visually appealing pictures: Since her first projects, she has also demonstrated a strong consciousness of the discursive strategies of photography. In Temporada (Season), her series of artists’ portraits, for instance, all the images suggest a respectful distance from the subjects, who are, as Claudio Iglesias claims, “the undisputed main characters of a scene that’s closed in on itself.”

Kiosko (Kiosk), a series developed more or less at the same time, consists of a group of self-portraits with celebrities, where she decides to subvert the journalistic codes of the graphic reporter by including herself in the picture, not without a hint of irony or complicity, depending, very probably, on the character who accompanies her.

In Entrevista (Interview), none of the depicted characters look directly into the camera. They inhabit their own domestic world, where the photographer seems to peep and capture certain moments as frames of a cinematic narrative while her subjects pretend to ignore her presence. A previous work, La Voz del Interior (The inner voice), which is also the name of an important provincial newspaper, depicts neon words isolated in urban nightscapes. Shiny but lonely, in all their publicity, they seem to allude to the intimate feelings of the occasional passerby. Her most abstract series to date comes as the result of the experimentation with photos and magnets and bears the Spanish title of John Cassavettes’s 1974 movie Una mujer bajo influencia (A woman under the influence).

At Zavaleta Lab recently, Schoijett opened her new show, Impresión, a word that can mean both Impressions or Prints in Spanish. With this work, a series of collages, Schoijett has transgressed the rectangular edges of the photographic copy. She uses images of flora and fauna from pages of books, perhaps timeless pictures of the history of printing, representing how the world is supposed to look. But they are precisely cut, superimposed and collaged to form images composed of multiple layers. And some of the pictures can be flipped to find another collage, a hidden layer hiding behind it.

Sometimes the background can’t contain the figures it supports. Layers wrap each other up and a strange mixture of flying and deep-rooting invades the eyes of the observer, who by now distrusts all visible things. Animals appear under fabrics or flowers, in reality they are only paper, just cuttings or spots of color that play piano with their feathers. How does it sound? Black and white trees in the guises of human shapes walk across what looks like the ground and vegetation of a courtyard. A fuzzy wig appears behind a bouquet of flowers in the style of the sewing baskets of the ‘70s. How do they smell?

Another, unframed piece, depicts pictures hanging on the walls of a white room with a spectator standing in the middle. Cut out of the image, appearing only as holes, in turn they are stuffed, completed from behind with moss, real moss. The observer has mimetized with the observed. The real, the photographic referent has either gone far away or is hiding under the layers because these photos don’t represent what they depict.

So, what is it that comes back, returning as the image inside the image? Is it the uncontrollable and impersonal force of nature?, online art magazine,17 de septiembre de 2010.