The “difficult loves” of Adriana Lestido
I read that Adriana Lestido said her work was penetrated by parting and absence. It is true. Imprisoned women, single mothers, children and adolescents at the hospital, even the love that ends in separation are the subjects of the photographic works that the photographer has created along her 37 years of professional life. Partly as a catharsis of her own experience, the series exhibited at the MNBA are only a clipping within the micro universes she has chosen and that she has also been chosen for to plunge into them. Nothing happens at random and nothing interests us just because: whatever we do has to do with ourselves, with our history, expertise and subjectivity.
Separation and absence complement and feedback each other as realities. The absence is also a way of presence. The one who is not present, appears in the mind, in the memories and in the emptiness. In the everyday and the occasional, in the big and small, in the ephemeral and the decisive. Not being is a new way of being, with a new meaning and in many cases empowered.
The absent man in Adriana Lestido images is exactly what gives those women and invaluable strength, penetrated by the author´s perspective. It is true they are alone, (without “them”) but actually those women stand for themselves. And since they can stand on their own, they are firm in their position, even in prison: they are in charge of their children, they struggle and claim for justice. The absent man is still there: that absence becomes tangible in the strength of the women we see, in the story behind each image, in the pain, the offspring, the memories and the memory.
Love is represented in the daily and solid bond of the women with their daughters, the way the two look at each other, the dedicated tattoos of the prisoners, the claim when they do not know what happened to her loved one. The separation modifies the relationship but if does not disappear. When Lestido visually tells her own story, does not need the literal image to communicate the feelings love generates in all its complexity. The image of a frozen memory in time and forever, that takes you back to a time in the past can represent more than the body gestures, more than a close-up of a face. Love also exists in the small and daily aspects such as the light on the other person, the mother embracing the daughter, the innocent play, the look and the closing of the eyes.
Lestido is not looking for the fiction of things but instead she approaches reality as it is, and that´s the way she shows it. She does it in specific locations we are not used to going to: the prison, the hospital, the intimacy of the relation with others. Each one of them with their complexity and endless situations, emotions, thoughts, acts, etc. There, in the macro aspects, is where the photographer disappears to make other things visible pointing at something in particular, a gesture, a position, that space that represents and has a little and a lot, that can be taken as a milestone in that immense specific context. She gets closer to the depth of pain, without fear and from there she makes us enter into the reality of others that, deep inside has a lot in common with us: love, angst, relations, partings, absence and presence.