Mourning Light: Jane Fulton Alt

Mourning Light: Jane Fulton Alt

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by Alessandro Trabucco


The description, through an artistic language indirect and partially detached as the photography, of intense and intimate feelings like the suffering, the sorrow and the death, could be very dangerous, because the probability to give way to moralistic and rhetorical attitudes is very high, as well as the difficulty to keep a high and sincere level of emotional participation.

Some places keep forever the memory of what was experienced there, they become sanctuaries of a universal and lay religion, as keeper of a “word” that does not find in the speech its own expression and does not look for disciples among the the living beings, but it remains an innate entity and, for this reason, inherent in the most remote, silent and accurately guarded depth of the human soul.

This religion, without prophets or saints, sacred texts, dogmas or liturgies, is expressed by what most natural exists since the mists of time and distinguishes the human and the animal nature from the inorganic and undifferentiated world: the empathy.

Jane Fulton Alt_Untitled (Door of No Return)

Untitled (Door of No Return)

Jane Fulton Alt_Untitled (Window to Sea)

Untitled (Window to Sea)

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Untitled #4

Jane Fulton Alt’s images, from the Mourning Light series, well represent this process of self-identification and perception of events, in this case of deep  suffering, that have marked in an indelible way some places, sites that represent the concrete proof of the inexpressible brutality that the human being has been always able to self-inflict, always making the same unforgivable mistakes.

Making recourse to the metaphor of the contrast between dark and light, the darkness that annihilates the existence and the brightness that contrasts its propagation, encouraging then the life, the American photographer creates visions that, in their act of realistic documentation, seem mental images, obtained with stress and distress from a memory torn and brutalized by the barbarity and the ignorance.

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Untitled #6

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An important visual document to propose again, right today, International Holocaust Remembrance Day, as a moment to think over our (belonging to the human being as living being) recent history and on some issues that still put questions on events that may dangerously occur again.

As George Santayana wrote in his “The life of reason or The phases of human progress” in 1905-1906 (then before both two World Wars): ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Images courtesy of the artist

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Jane Fulton Alt – Untitled #21

The concept of “doorstep”, of a crossing between two spaces separated by a more or less visible demarcation line, exists in many artistic expressions and has always aroused a special attraction, especially due to the theoretical implications it has been provoking through the time.
About Jane Fulton Alt’s photographs, this separation line is represented by a luminous source put as a impassable limit or, better, like a revelation of an environment opposed to another, in this case to a darkness threatening its existence.

The American photographer visits the Nazi concentration camps and the slavery sites in Africa, and with her photographic device she is ´at the desperate search for whatever light, visible through a door, a ceiling, a crack in the wall, a light that contrasts with the wrapping darkness of such ´places of extraordinary gloomª. A gesture of deep humanity and empathy with an immense sorrow burdening on the memory of such places other than on the universal conscience of the mankind.

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