TARRAH KRAJNAK

MARBLE STUDIES

MARBLE STUDIES (2014)

The 1970s brought an unprecedented wave of migrants from the Andes and Amazon into Lima, Peru. Fleeing poverty and violence, they settled in sprawling slums, dramatically transforming the city's culture. My birth mother was one migrant in that explosive moment, but that is almost all I know about her. Marble Studies explores my own fractured relationship to this turbulent period in the history of Lima, Peru.

 In the summer of 2013, I returned to Peru and rented a studio in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a seaside town called Barranco. I stayed there for 3 months. This crumbling mansion had a history of its own– once a symbol of wealth and modernity it too had changed along with the city. In the 80's it was abandoned and then in the 90's it was the center of numerous unofficial rave parties with cracked marble pieces left under old chunks of broken wooden flooring. By 2013 it was not only my studio, but home to several homeless workers and dogs, 1 lost python, 2 cats, 1 painter, and a fashion photographer. I used the materials at hand– the marble became a surface to conduct my re-photographic experiments and the wood and glass were a way to call attention to the historical layering of time and place.

Each day I roamed the markets and the streets of Lima collecting vernacular photographs and printed materials – including pornographic, political, and crime magazines – and other ephemera. Using these materials in my studio I photographed ensembles of layered objects, texts and images, creating new images and new meanings. I set out not to recover some stable, “authentic” identity hidden by the circumstances of my birth and adoption, but rather to pull together archival materials, found photographs, untold narratives, and images in an effort to patch together, reclaim, and invent something like a psychic history of that year, and locate myself within it.