Text: Monika Faber, Werner Fenz, Christine Frisinghelli, Wirfried Skreiner

Published as a catalogue in 1989, four years after Christine’s death, to accompany his first solo exhibition featuring photographs of her, that was entitled ‘Mémoires (Mémoires 1978-1988)’ and held at the Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz. This was the first of the ‘Mémoires’ series that was to underlie his work for the next twenty years. In 1990 this work was awarded the Europe Kodak Photo Book Award, and the 2nd Society of Photography (Japan) Award.

For Christine

Seiichi Furuya presents us with a multi-layered work in this book. Not only are diverse groups of photographs brought together in relation to one another but, intermittently, a main theme is carried from a beginning to an end. Yet this end is at the same time the beginning, and this is true not only because of the – for us reversed – Japanese reading of the book, or because Furuya takes different paths, but because this book has two principal sides of which it constantly assures itself, even when on the surface he seems to be dealing with other themes.

Mémoires – the title is consciously borrowed from Jacques Derrida's work of memory for his friend Paul de Man (Jacques Derrida, Mémoires. For Paul de Man. New York and Guildford: Columbia Univ. Press, 1986) – is for me both surprisingly and convincingly connected to Furuya's wordless photographic work. Derrida (and his translator) have outlined the ambiguity of the term Mémoires in French and broken it down into a series of terms in German. In choosing the title Mémoires, Furuya had no one translation into German in mind, but the differing and différant meanings of the French term. These range from a commemoration, experience, memoirs, report, memorandum, document, portrait/act [Akt] to a promise or memory, although not one that clings obstinately to remembering, even if this cannot be turned off or repressed. Derrida evolves these Mémoires into a lively discussion of the deceased's work, thoughts, intellect and person, he begins to converse with the dead person, and moves beyond the grave, converging in an invocation, in the prosopopoeia which even if subliminal demands an answer from the other....

© Wilfried Skreiner, 1989

An excerpt from a text "Mémoires", Mémoires 1978-1988, 1989, Graz


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