The photographs in the series Unavailable Memory (The Corners of Brussels), 2015, have mostly been shot at night, or in the twilight. Through the architecture unified by the camera’s perspective, the ‘breaking points’ of the empty city at night obviously present us with questions about the history, trilingual identity, everyday use of the city and its status as the so-called European capital, embodied by the city’s physical substance. However, as Gaston Bachelard has written, a house that has been experienced is never an inert box, instead it takes on a psychology almost immediately, becoming one of the most important psychoanalytic constructions, one of the most primal models of the soul, where the attic corresponds to the superego, the living quarters to the ego and the cellar, of course, to the subconscious.
The collection of corners shot by a flâneur wandering around aimlessly in the city at night is a mental landscape, an imagined crowd, which poses questions not only about its own identity but also that of the viewer, while retaining an ambivalence, which Varres considers an essential part of any work of art. Dealing with the landscape of a city yet unknown to him, the artist uses the work’s title to introduce the motif of the return of memories, of impossible or hindered memory work. It is possible that this distant or imagined memory is not the artist’s alone but a part of a process that connects him to the viewers.
Tarvo Varres (b. 1970) is an Estonian artist working in photography, video and installations, who started exhibiting institutionally in 1991 with the exhibition Guide to Intronomadism. He has received several awards, has been nominated for the Köler Prize 2018, his works are in the contemporary art collection of the Art Museum of Estonia, and he has been a guest tutor at the Estonian Academy of Art since 1996.