Espaces of solitude is Milan Pajk’s photographic project, comprised of a book and an exhibition. The book includes 11 series with 69 photographs. As the photographs are substantively and contextually linked to the spaces of North-west Africa, the translations are self-evidently in French. The Modern Gallery exhibition accompanying the book shows a selection of 39 photographs, mostly achieved through the analogue technique. Series and exhibition Espaces de solitude records and deals with the lonely vast areas of the Sahara where individual can not only grasp this fleeting life, but also doubt our perception of this world.
Traveling means experience. Experience of what? The new? The different? What kind of different? What is there left in this world that is not yet known to us visually, even though we have never actually seen it through our own eyes? Until the 19th Century, travelers were describing their voyages but from then on their voyages have been photographed. It seems that the invention of photography has brought about not only good, but also bad things. It did not only signify the transition from typography into graphics, as Marchall McLuhan states; if we are to believe Jeane Genet, photography lead the world to evolve into a fantasy brothel. If we realize to what lengths this religion of images and principally the electronic media has pushed the world’s perceptions to, this is most certainly true. However at the same time it seems that because of this fact only literature can still offer some refuge for the imagination. Photography has brought the images of the world into our homes, while at the same time it robbed us of the pleasure of discovery. A tourist standing in front of the Tower of Pisa or under the pyramids near Cairo has to be satisfied with merely comparing that which stands before his very eyes and the images long familiar to him from photographs. What is there left for him? Only to take a similar photograph of these places.
Nowadays, traveling has become easy. In a few hours we can exchange the chilly European morning for the heat of the tropics. This is a lovely notion, but can it still be called traveling? Is it not just a movement, a transfer to the same level of comfort with a better climate? What is traveling then? Does one have to leave the residence of their tribe to travel? It seems that real travelling is much closer to an excursion into one’s own being, even though this can be done while relaxing on a sofa at home, and not so much the physical transfer of a body to a distant location. The nomads of the Sahara, the Tuareg, move some ten or hundred kilometers away every couple of years into a completely identical environment. However their permanent movement is present in their souls and not so much in their physical migrations. In fact, only their souls are travelling, their bodies represent but vessels for them. These things may seem different in our perceptions, but the lonely vast areas of the Sahara are spaces where we can not only grasp this fleeting life, but also doubt our perception of this world.
Text by Milan Pajk
Design by Ranko Novak
Language: Slovenian, French
Size: 27 x 24 cm, 120 pages
Publisher: DesigNovak, 2010