On a 1947 Rediscovery: Archive, memory and self-inscription in the work of Julião Sarmento

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This paper deals with the experience of archive and memory as key aspects in the photographic work of the Portuguese artist Julião Sarmento. Taking the installation entitled 1947 — based on the appropriation of an ensemble of found photographs — as the central object of study, this paper seeks to discuss the relationship between archive, memory and the photographic, or the filmic. It is argued that in Julião Sarmento’s artistic work the problematic of the archive acquires an autographical dimension, allowing us to think over the role of both archive and memory as creative processes involving distinct supports and temporalities of the image. It is through the articulation of the psychoanalytical theory regarding recurrence and the unconscious and crucial references whose authors directly or indirectly approach the theme of the archive (J. Derrida, G. Didi-Huberman, H. Foster, A. Buchanan and J. Schwartz, among others) that we will be able to understand the way the archive structure acquires, in Julião Sarmento’s oeuvre, the meaning of a device of (counter)narration able to materialize the movements of memory itself. The article seeks, therefore, to highlight a temporal and affective dimension that reveals itself to be central in archival practices that comprise the personal archive and found photography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-273
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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