/02 Snow Blind

Birthe Piontek

Sub Rosa

Sub Rosa invites us to recollect. Sub Rosa reminds us of a time, a stage in one’s life, which could not have been more intimate, and nevertheless exists as a romanticized blur in our mind today. No period in life is so comprehensively enriched with emotions, frustration and high expectations as the stage between our youth and adulthood. Adolescence, the loss of prolonged innocence and the desire to belong and to be different at the same time, seems to be an unconquerable obstacle in the journey of discovering our identity.

Today, all this seems far away even though most of us have hardly ever experienced more intense times of excessive self-reflection. We helplessly realize that access to the world of the youth – and sometimes even our kids – is often surprisingly restricted. After all, our own extensive experiences do not always make us birds of a feather. We witness a world we once knew and now lost contact of. We notice traits we can’t explain although they have been a part of our own personality before. The combination of familiar and strange events creates an oppressive tension that not only occurs in the portraits, but also in the still lifes.

The portraits show teenagers in situations that expose them as contemplative, vulnerable individuals. Their innocent faces contrast the partly gloomy stills, which uncover suspicious situations without revealing the suspects. They give hints of the beginning or ending of stories in which the viewers are supposed to imagine themselves. They refer to furtive things and secrets that they want to stay hidden.

Sub Rosa takes us by the hand to lead us back to a magical, mystical place; like a sneak peek behind doors we thought had been closed behind us forever. We catch a glimpse of the unplumbed depth of human souls concealed behind innocent faces and intimate moments, which seem to have originated from our own memories. Sub Rosa wants us to experience what we have already experienced – intimate strangeness and strange intimacy.