About12. The picture is, in fact, simple:
Epics v Novels
Representation v Expression
Monuments v Homes
Histories v Stories
Nation v Person
Groups, Teams v the Individual
Large and expensive v Small and cheap
Appearing Act (from the Greek Photos Graphos :written/drawn/painted with light) is the photographic process through which Carô Gervay interacts with the notions of identity, somewhere between autobiography and identity politics. Through visual experimentations of writing, drawing and painting with light, this process inquires into the underlying violence and the roles played by the photographic medium in relation to those themes and is informed by the histories of colonialism, personal stories and present socio-political contexts and concerns.
Going back and forth between family archives, conversations and the red lights of the lab, the photographer asks questions of the many “we” - we (could) belong to and how photographs define us as a species. This process seeks to give new insights on her own personal identity but also linking it to wider perspectives on human agency.
Going through layers of memories, masks, shadows, erasure and silence, this body of work points at the ruptures in transmission affecting diaspora communities, in her case as a woman of Vietnamese heritage. This also feeds into the current debates in the UK arts, which is still trying to adequately understand and include global demographics, such as South East Asian perspectives.
This presentation of Appearing Act -Viết đi, Viết lại- (Write, Rewrite) focuses on “the transformation of silence into language and action (as) a self-revelation(...) that always seems fraught with danger" (Audre Lorde). The individual stories behind or in parallel with the pictures-whether true or fictional- are an attempt to counteract the empty saturation of images we live in. This is why Carô Gervay chooses the slow and laborious process of analogue and alternative photography, bringing the process of revealing images into play with memory-or loss of it.
To Carô Gervay “writing with light” allows a relationship to the world and a performance where time slows down and people come together. Her work is often inspired by autobiographical matter as an access point to more universal ideas of memory, mobility and transmission. Her practice has a strong background in analogue photography, with experience of collaboration with other art forms: sound, performance, video, participation. She works internationally as an artist, facilitator and photographer, is a director at Thames-Side Studios-based Gate Darkroom (0-003) and a member of Asia Art Activism research network. She welcomes conversations, collaborations, assignments, opportunities to learn and create.