– Spring/Summer 2005

More to the Picture

Chus Martinez

Tags: David Lamelas

The most surprising aspect of David Lamelas's work is not his considerable contribution to our understanding of the limits of the modern aesthetic: it is his eloquent awareness that the camera is a valid tool when it comes to constructing a social theory based on the analytical effort to establish the status of the relationship between reality and knowledge.

The German philosopher Niklas Luhmann declared that because of the numerous roles we play and the countless arenas in which we perform our tasks, each of us is always 'partially displaced'. As a result of the plethora of voices and projects that are in competition with each other, and the multiplicity of imperatives urging us to make the most of them regardless of time or place, we have the constant feeling that we are 'partially excluded'. We perceive the here and now as an ephemeral state. Subjectivity is transitory, and the whole of our life could be seen as a repository of identities that have never been able to come to fruition. This thinking is the linking thread that connects works as disparate as Time as Activity, Düsseldorf (1969), in which a fixed camera films three areas of the city in takes lasting four minutes each, with La invención del Doctor Morel (1999), based on the well-known novel by Bioy Casares, a fantasy regarding the impossibility of ever knowing for certain which parts of ourselves and our relationships with others exist only in our imagination.

In a photograph of David Lamelas taken - undoubtedly by a friend - in Buenos Aires in the 1960s, we see him sitting in an armchair, fully aware of the presence of