Photographic Memory: On Raoul Ollman’s “Reflections”

Images from Raoul Ollman’s latest series, “Reflections,” are not photographs of city windows or of anything per se. They are radical reorganizations of space that is city life and that is, alas, memory itself.

Ollman doesn’t see a world in progress and try to capture the moment. I want to suggest, rather, that when he sees the everyday world, he sees something else: he sees the monumental already there, running through the world…It’s not, then, that Ollman is stopping something in motion. It’s that he sees a different world, one in which the everyday is pervaded, down to its very molecular structure, with a certain transcendental stillness: with the monumental.

In a series from 2016, Ollman photographed the monumental within the everyday—the stoic endurance of things living in time and ending, inevitably, in death. His images don’t seek transcendence; they have no care for the eternal. These are images of this one temporal trajectory within things, this defiance of eternity.
These images reorganize space…

[…]the painter’s progress past the shops, but the circulation of exchange value, the voyage of colours, and in each painting there is a voyage, a circulation of tone. / Nothing is neutral or passive. Yet the painter means nothing, neither approval nor anger. The colours express nothing: green is not hope, neither is yellow the colour of sadness, nor red the colour of cheerfulness. Nothing but hot or cold, hot and cold.



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