instant choices

Object: Exhibition / Location: Escher Theater Luxembourg / Duration: 27.1.23 - 11.03.23

For his second Polaroid exhibition, the artist consciously chose an unusual place filled with history and memories. The well-known and recently renovated theater in the heart of the city of Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg seemed to be exactly the right place to present his photography to a chosen and different audience. Far away from contemporary art temples this project can be seen as a more intimate and discreet project unveiling another compelling side of himself and of his working process.

Instant photography as a technique and art form has often been underestimated and wrongly considered as being too popular. However, Polaroid photography requires a very different approach and behaviour than digital photography. When exploring instant photography, one has to refer to the notion of choice. Using choice as a constant companion, the photographer embraces the complexity and imminency of each take, acknowledging that there is no way back and no possible alternative once the picture has been captured. At any given moment, one is faced with having to evaluate if the subject is worth the ‘shot’. Instantaneous decision making and a constant awareness of producing an exclusive original are thus key components to the creative process.

Paul Kirps approaches instant film photography as a medium similar to street photography. It’s all about the art of the instant, immortalising something that may first seem unpretentious and giving it significance. When working with polaroid, Kirps discovers his subjects fortuitously and then tries to extract their similarities, analyse their meanings, and create series through the staging of this everyday life. Often devoid of human representation, his images highlight all the more forcefully the traces of human activity through elements of architecture, infrastructure, construction or transport. In these times of uncertainty, postponements, and preparations for what might or might not come, he significantly explores the themes of void and non-place. Each picture produced seeks to reflect the before and after of certain events or actions. What can be perceived is the waiting, the fleeting moments, an arrival or a departure, the beginning or the end of a season… Situations and states in suspension with no apparent reason, images waiting to be discovered and interpreted.

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Copyright Paul Kirps 2024