Óscar Muñoz, “Biographies”, 2002, series of 9 film stills Courtesy of Sicardi Gallery
I think that Roland Barthes’ idea is very relevant: that the true function of photography is fulfilled when the referent disappears; it is at that point that photography acquires all of its force and documental value. Of these individuals who have disappeared and died, the only documentation that can attest to their existence-in addition to those mementos sometimes preserved by their families, like articles of clothing or certain objects – is photography, which confirms a moment of contact of its existence with the photosensitive film. It is this contact that we call the index.
Thinking that a photographic portrait is something like a person’s frozen present, I have constructed for this present a before and after, as a kind of biographical story. Biographies is a flux with a past and present which constitutes itself into a recognizable image, an image that continues towards a process of destruction. I like the biblical idea of what comes from the earth returns to it. The strong relationship to the idea of life and death, ashes, powdered matter, and the idea of water as life, flux and movement, is both a condition of imminent instability and fragility.