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Vita Buivid burst into modern Russian art in the very beginning of the 1990s as one of the first artists to use photography as the main art medium. At the same time, she started a conceptual research of the very nature of photography, testing the limits of its customary genres: a reportage, a portrait, a staged
photo session, a still life, etc. Her fearless research, in which every new series essentially turns into an existential or social performance, continues to this day. Vita Buivid’s early works are close in spirit to those of St. Petersburg New Academy, which is not surprising, since she was living and working in that city and was part of Timur Novikov’s circle. However, her path in art has always been an individual one. She was one of the first to start cleverly and wittily working on gender problems at a time when women artists in Russia were the exception
rather than the norm, and her works therefore created a stir not only among the members of local artistic community, but also among international curators. When in 1996 the International Photo Biennale was held in Moscow, Buivid became one of its most important participants. It is always interesting to follow her work because, while always preserving its core – extremely personal, even intimate nature of each project – it reflects our time and its energetics.


Olga Sviblova
Director of the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

Vita Buivid, Untitled, 1990

Untitled, 1990 

 

SERGEY POPOV: NOTES ABOUT BUIVID

Vita Buivid is an artist-photographer. However archaic and odd this term may seem now, it is certainly applicable in this case. To fully capture what makes Buivid’s work unique, one would first have to determine her interaction with photography. That is to say, to try to lay bare the immanently “photographic” in her art, apart from all formal characteristics of work with photography, since mastering the technique in itself obviously doesn’t turn anyone into an artist. Her art is not made to stand out by such formal devices as complex printing techniques, original surfaces or photograph painting, however, recognisable they make it. These and other devices are indeed numerous and change from project to project, demonstrating an almost infinite variety that makes one think that all these works belong to different authors who borrow and develop one another’s ideas. Rather, what makes it unique is that essence of the “photographic” that permeates the majority of her projects and brings together all these “authors,” all these different techniques. This essence can be defined as the need in every case to reach the source of the “media” – if necessary, tracing it to the 19th century and the dawn of photography. But that, of course, is not the end in itself. Rather, the author hopes to find the unconditional fixation of human features, to define their particularities with the help of photography. That, in fact, is not achieved by external manipulations. The heart of the matter, as it seems, is that Vita Buivid’s photographic view of things, despite its sophistication, is akin to that primal photographic look at Man as if seen through the camera lens for the first time. The “photographic” for her is a means of capturing in the human personality something that is hard to pin down, something that is naive, obvious and at the same time immutable; it is, ultimately, those abiding human features that can be captured by “painting with light.”

The stereotype that local critics have formed about Buivid is that she is a St. Petersburg cryptographer. That automatically connect the author with a certain array of clichés: paraphrases of the classics, a certain bohemian quality, eccentricity and the priority of “manual labour” over conceptual thinking. This lopsided stereotype does not encompass the full reality. For ten years Buivid was working and living in St. Petersburg (at first, actually, in Leningrad), she cut her teeth as a photographer in that city, and the majority of her key projects date from that period. Her coming into her own as an artist is more complex, and the aforementioned stereotype has become irrelevant, turning into a catchall for those who do not bother to look at the artist’s biography beyond the first line. The dubiously relevant juxtaposition of Moscow and St. Petersburg makes some sense only when sorting a few things out at the local level. In the global perspective, this polarisation becomes pointless.

To fully appreciate Buivid’s art, one has to consider other vectors – those that are deeply personal and weren’t imposed from the outside. It is important that she comes from Dnepropetrovsk – a large Ukrainian city with its own cultural tradition, albeit a provincial one. Suffice it to say that Ilya Kabakov also hails from that city. The tradition of late Soviet direct photography, absorbed by the artist, is also relevant. From an early age, Vita was at the photography club “The Dnieper,” around which formed a phenomenon that would later be called by researchers “the Dnepropetrovsk school of photography.” The girl was helping the club’s founder Marlen Matus who himself had begun photographing at the age of 11. The photography by amateur groups tells us much more about the transformational processes in photography that were taking place at that time, than official visual art. The extraction from a visual reality of concentrated states that were halfway between the “Soviet” and the “universal” can be clearly seen in those pictures whose significance will necessarily increase while the époque they capture becomes more and more distant. The Dnepropetrovsk school is not as famous as the Kharkov one whose most prominent figure was Boris Mikhailov. The Kharkov school’s focus is on the social nature of the Soviet world, its aggressive interference in people’s lives and explosive anthropological effects; it is the line of hard staging, conceptual text and borderline Dadaist photo collage. In Dnepropetrovsk, no one was looking for radical anthropology, and Buivid was no exception – either then or later. But something significant from that period seeps through her pictures, some tart aftertaste remains – be its effects illuminating or dimming. It is here in Dnepropetrovsk, and later, in the latter part of the 1980s, in Poltava, that her first photography experiments, whose relevance would be confirmed much later, took place. Although at that stage Buivid didn’t consider herself a Ukrainian artist, the Ukrainian trace in her work would continue to be noticed decades after.

In 1989 Vita moved to Leningrad. She would be living there at the very time of the grandiose collapse of the regime that had seemed unbreakable. The new was being born practically out of nothing; it was a time of dizzying, intoxicating freedom. The previously absorbed experience of the “Soviet” which is at the same time the “universal” (or “the Soviet as the true universal”), with its strong social inhibitions, pressure and frustration, would be suddenly superimposed on the experience of an active, risky, freewheeling artistic life. One can see here also the conflict between the omnipresent squalor and marginalisation and the high culture, epic tradition and heritage. Some purely superficial echoing of the photography of Leningrad underground, with its studied aesthetic emphasis on ageing, decay and deconstruction, is hardly relevant: by that time the artist had grown out of the precepts of the “school,” albeit she still was under the influence of the environment. Leningrad, which had become St. Petersburg overnight, is Vita’s personal childhood dream, whose trace, coupled with expectations of bliss and balancing on the edge of the oneiric, can be felt in virtually all the photo- graphs of that period. Buivid’s explosive start coincided with her international acceptance: in the backwater of the “cultural capital,” she was creating something that resonated in other parts of the world, and the same can be said about other artists working in St. Petersburg at that time.

The source of Buivid’s photography is in the poetics of defamiliarized experience of art and the act of its creation. In her first years in Leningrad Vita came into her own as a painter – a respectable, if secondary, modernist artist. But her true creative work – now inextricably bound with photography – grew out of capturing other artists (as well as critics, models and the Boheme in general). Timur Novikov, whose protégé Buivid was, and some other people from his circle (for example Bella Matveeva) insisted on the need for her to move from painting to photography. A “witness of artists,” she gradually became self-aware as an artist-photographer, giving up her attempts at a pure painting that would soon be replaced by staging along the lines of “artist and model” (the eponymous series would later become her calling card). These are not simply an insider’s look at the bohemian community (though nominally, her work was of the kind that allowed it to be compared with that of Nan Goldin and Larry Clark, while the essence of their photography is actually quite different). Buivid’s work always involves theatricalization, even buffonade, but without artificiality or exaggerated irony typical of neo-academism where characters (sometimes the same as in Buivid’s photographs) in a studiedly exalted manner grotesquely act out the scenes of antique dramas. All her miseen-scenes bear a certain characteristics of a self-portrait.

Self-portraits proper would also emerge, sometimes cracked and fragmented (“Self-Knowledge as a Process. Triptych”), sometimes in an exaggerated close-up that eliminates the distance between it and the viewer, sometimes in the guise of a literary character (“Dedication to Virginia Woolf” – curiously, the writer’s lover was called Vita). In many cases, she is afraid of creating a tautological situation which, in its turn, is perceived as original and personally determined. It is such situation that permitted to include the inner logic and ethics of a plot that refers the viewer to the history of art and the subject of “art about art.” The same logic would permit to organically introduce painterly techniques into photography, or rather – a gradual blend of the two. Buivid’s techniques and approaches would change, but key features would remain: a nuanced matching of technique and objective, meticulous craftsmanship and multi-layered execution. Using natural light when photographing, Buivid would be also printing on Soviet-made photographic fabric, which is very different from today’s analogues in texture, gloss, light-bearing qualities and the ability to reflect oil al- most like watercolour. A media already unique at the time, this texture makes each work truly unique. It is the last material trace of the Soviet époque in Buivid’s photography. It also embodies another feature of her art: always devoting a lot of time to a manual work.

Much of Buivid’s art pieces, if one were to look at them from the author’s perspective, may seem like a series of failures, total awkwardness and uncouthness. Vita is quite self-critical. She thinks that she works at the same time too intensively and not enough, that she doesn’t achieve the desired result. And the result itself in most cases can not be determined with enough concreteness. Rushing around in her projects, abrupt jerks, technique changes, the rapid tempo, in which some series were executed –all bear witness to that uncertainty. At the same time, much effort can be spent on scrupulous finishing touches of a given project, such as changing the hue of images, which makes some series continue for years. This hypercritical perception may look as a simple female affectation. Vita acts through overcoming – a word in which rings a forced rejection of laziness. But in retrospective, the overcoming of faults, that are rehashed and turned into real art, in fact, becomes the artist’s strong point. What seemed accidental becomes a regularity. Fussing around and distortion end up as strict order; defects turn into enhancements; initial eclecticism grows into an organic unity. All Buivid’s photographs without exception are permeated with harmony – but she only works upon the viewer where the ruptures have been sewn together, conflicts overcome and fragments assembled into a whole.

If we want to understand Buivid’s art we need to watch closely her displacements and states of mind. She is an artist who is very dependent on her environment, which, in principle, can be designated as a “female” or “feminine” characteristic of her art. However, it is in no way a sign of subservience. Rather, she is a translator of intangible, psychic changes and vacillations caused by external factors – travels, passions and dependencies. That is to say, her art is, above all, biographical and “geographical” (as a derivative of the biographical). With a rare exception, there are no pure genres: landscapes, still-lives or abstractions. All subject matter has been dictated by life; all themes have been personally felt.

Buivid’s photographic art has been traditionally identified through the parameters of “the female,” and the majority of researchers are going to stumble upon and get stuck in it. This is Buivid’s first, quite superficial, characteristic, even though it is a fair one. Indeed, Buivid actually underlines her gender identity, but she is in no way limited to it. Failing to see that is the reason for the narrowness and limitation of reading her along the lines of the feminist discourse. The “feminization” of Buivid is just one means of discursive localization (similar to the geographic localization: for example, reading Leningrad motifs into everything) of her photographic texts, which inevitably limits the interpretation of the images of her palette. Only a handful of projects dictates the feminist view that determines her op- tics: when a conscript “takes’ a girl in the attic (“A Girl and a Soldier”) or when male cultural figures are displayed in bathtubs (“Men in a Bathtub”). As is mentioned above, Buivid always proceeds from herself, but she is looking – very closely – at the Other, even if this look is turned in- wards. Her look is compassionate, empathetic and at the same time analytical and anatomizing. It is such reflexive look, operationally speaking, that all significant postmodernist authors have been striving for.

There is other gender-related layers and subjects that are important to Buivid, even though they have not been dictated by feminism. Scenes where nudity, both male and female, sublimated sex, seduction, pleasure and punishment appear, can be interpreted with a degree of ambivalence. They need a broader horizon of perception: a sexual revolution that, like everything else, came late to our country, whose witness, accomplice and chronicler Buivid was – “the photographer who undresses,” to quote the representatives of the artistic com- munity of that time – made an impact on everyone. This is how Buivid herself describes it: “In the milieu where I found myself in Leningrad, sex was pretty much the main motif. It was the norm of life and it naturally found its translation in art.” The project “13 Moons’ is a direct reference to one of the last movies of Rainer Werner Fassbinder In a Year of 13 Moons. It is permeated with eroticism, including lesbian one (as are some photographs in the series “Love Me as I Love You” and “Secret Desires”), partly arousing characters’ suspicions of transsexuality (according to Fassbinder’s context). Buivid inarguably was one of the first in Russian art to thermalize these layers, demonstrating a kind of aestheticism that skirts the sick and the pathological. At the same time, she kept her distance from neo-academism, where related subjects were played out. Perhaps, it is easy to find here some echoes of surrealism – that permeating quality of all late Soviet underground art in general. One of the expressive features of these projects is their cinematic quality. It is noteworthy that around the same time Alexey Balabanov in his film Of Freaks and Men (1998) was looking for the roots of the same phenomenon – early erotic (or, in the minds of early 20th-century viewers – pornographic) photography. Buivid finds her own stylistic equivalent of sexuality in photography: she works intrigue and provoke, but neither dis- close bodily secrets nor tempt. They make one ponder on the eternal attraction and repulsion of sexes.

The borderline between staging and documentalism determines the visual language of most of Buivid’s works. She tells: “In Leningrad it was practically a reportage. Yes, with manipulation, but it was a reconstruction of some domestic situations, only transferred to a better interior or with the substitution of participants by more interesting ones ... like a feature film based on real events. As for the documental, it usually didn’t work for me based “on the picture” alone. And it still doesn’t. I’m very observant but I never just grab the camera and click away. Later I reconstruct the situation in the right place with the right people.” Such method would seem merely a slight staging departure from pho- to-documentalism if it didn’t harbour a conceptual strategy and the constantly honed authorial craftsmanship, which, ultimately, is what constitutes Buivid’s specific “added value” to Russian photography.

One of the foremost visual models for Buivid is the principle of non-identical repetition. It is surreptitiously present in the majority of her series, notably in the shawls from the project “Photo Knitwear” and later in the project “Research Methods Ornament,” where the legs of synchronous swimmers create a rhythmic repetition of the same geometrical figure against the background of water. In the series “Secret Desires’ Buivid imitates stereo photography of the second half of the 19th century, which nearly changed the history of art and could have become a “simulacrum” or the “virtual reality” of the époque, though it remained a peripheral phenomenon. Vita refers the viewer to the intimacy of her perception (appropriately enough, as at some point she began to be firmly associated with the forbidden erotic, hyper-sensual imagery) but since her stereo photography is not real and has no “stereo focus,” it bares the device, turning it inside out at the viewer. The artist consciously interacts with the codes of such photography and, consequently, with the ambiguity and binocularity of our vision. In the foreground of “Secret Desires,’ one sees the very principle of copying, of multiplying the images. Painting photographs are meant to show the difference of two images since it is almost impossible to create two identically hand-painted surfaces, but in the format of miniature the difference seems less apparent, and the viewer is left one-on-one with an alarming, rigid, both cold and sensual, conceptual meditation on the nature of original and copy. This paradoxical sensation is enhanced by the fact that similar images move inside the series, without beginning or end, and also migrate to other series years later. Vigorous sexuality of early St. Petersburg photography freezes in a polished gesture, dedicated to the origins of photographic erotic’s – a gesture that is at the same time an elegant female remark about the subject that has been troubling modern art since the time of Andy Warhol; homage is paid to him in the bright pop- art painting of faces and bodies.

Multiple versions, including the ruined ones, of the quite recognisable motifs, suddenly take on a vibrant second life, when Vita Buivid combines her favourite pastime of knitting with her favourite work of photography. Thereby she invents a genuine and radical female method of “knit” photography, completely outside of the control of males for whom it is, as it were, inappropriate. Knitting is a sublimated and purely feminine practice of creating material beauty that is not necessarily functional like clothes, but decorative like lace, napkins and curtains. Here everything converges almost each of Buivid’s photos, as it turns out, perfectly rhymes with the word “love.” In dozens of shots of “Love Me as I Love You” the grand motif of eternal love is placed against an ephemeral, elusive, sometimes squalid background. The artist makes the black-and-white photo clash with the colourful lace, but the spark is generated, above all, by the juxtaposition of a picture with the bor- rowed anonymous text, that seems to be accompanied by the aptly chosen 1930s music. The frame, however, is what “cinches’ the image and its significance is almost always noticeable in subsequent projects. The knitting makes the shot ironic, turning kitsch into a reflection about kitsch. This is a simple but significant gesture that speaks to everyone – both to the general public and the highbrow critics. “The morning following the exhibition I woke up a star,” testifies the artist. On the wave of that success, photographic knitting will be carried out in several projects among which it is hard to choose the most significant one. The shawls from the series “Photo Knitwear” combines female handicraft and the principle of non-identical repetition into a programmatic statement of which “Men in My Life” and “The Seasons’ are examples that deserve to be named among the most significant works of the decade. See-through clothes, stockings or gloves, fit to illustrate the fairy-tale line “neither dressed nor naked,” discover new aspects of the corporeal in photography. Photographic knitting reaches its peak in the project “Soft Porn.” A plump knitted penis with sewn-on testicles and an almost official “passport” photo of a man as an example of “soft porno” certainly looks funny. But it is also powerful and stylish – a fair female answer to the implied masculinity of the social structure which is not about to change in the foreseeable future.

Together with irony, the artist conveys empathy for “the little man” that can be clearly read, for example, in the project “Nevsky Ave.” The project is based on the material procured in the now forgotten service of the time of perestroika “Photo Mail.” Buivid herself had a gig with it just for a few days by sheer accident, but later procured dozens of reels from the archives of street photographers – a veritable cross-section of the e ́époque, with all its banal culture and straightforwardness. For an adequate representation of the project, one needs to keep in mind the text by Gogol that imparts to the project its poetic and temporal dimensions. The implied audio text would be on a number of occasions used by Vita – for instance, the vituperating TVs in “The Bitch” or the opera Eugene Onegin in “Prime Time.” In Buivid, the relation between photography and text is never direct. When a text is written over a photograph (“My Love Is not a Trickle of Smoke” or “I Will Remember These Nights As Long As My Eyes Are Open”) it doesn’t assert anything but rather accompanies the picture and serves as information background. The audible text is more important, and the implied one – more important still. Buivid successfully exposes photography’s text-oriented nature formulated by Vile ́m Flusser. It is not simply that her photographs are clandestinely narrative in nature. Yes, these are interesting stories that almost always have a narrative order, rising action and denouement. At times these are entire photographic novellas, whose storylines are by turns lyrical and dramatic (though devoid of that prolixity and linear narrative that fills the photographic comics of Ludmila Gorelova or the photo films, so popular today). Buivid feels the very essence of the photographic – the inconspicuous following of a text that switches on in our mind with any visual impulse, opening thereby the possibility of endless speaking, discussing the empirical reality that becomes a secondary image.

“Nevsky Ave” is also a series that arrives at provisional results of a subject important to Buivid – that of habitat, dwelling and refuge – and by contrast, that of the street. The interiors of private apartments of the turn of the 1990s were finally becoming penetrable, and privacy was replacing a public life or merging with it Vita watches these processes close- ly and captures their consequences: deprofessionalization, forced migration and social transgression. The exposed intersections of Nevsky Prospect become the intersections of Buivid’s creative work. It is not accidental that her programmatic painting technique here calls for a considerable scale and installation format: stretchers on construction scaffolding or balancing on boards over the scattered kilos of standard 10 × 15 pictures – the mute witnesses of private lives, accidentally converged into the history of a country.

The leitmotif seen in all these images is the aesthetics of kitsch, the juxtaposition of “folk” low culture and high culture. Here concur the touching provinciality and the pompousness of the capital city, the unconscious involvement, the informational torrent and incisive reflection.

Buivid’s work with kitsch is the accentuation of the quotidian, its intentional tautologization, its deconstruction and laying bare its discursive components (particularly seen in such projects as “The Leading Article”) that serves both to weaken and glorify, much like kitsch in Soviet time served not only as a means of escape from repressive reality into an idealistic one but also formed some aspects of that repressive reality. The adoration of kitsch in Buivid is firmly rooted in the history of all those locales through which the artist’s path lay: starting with Ukraine, continuing with Leningrad and its passion for mass imitation photograph, and finally with Moscow, where at the time of perestroika there flourished the socialist-art parody of Soviet kitsch made popular by such artists as Tatyana Nazarenko and Arkadiy Petrov and later, by Larisa Rezun-Zvezdochetova, though she was coming from a completely different context (the latter two artists are, incidentally, also from Ukraine). That was the fashion of projecting public consciousness onto personal artistic gestures. In Buivid’s case, it is the articulated female look that is passively and, perhaps even with a sense of doom, accepted by the other party.

If while talking about the 1990s one cannot escape the subject of kitsch, with the 2000s it is the subject of gloss. The gloss is the other side of kitsch, supposedly elevated, with a pretension to uniqueness and certainly connected with priceyness and chic. In Russia, gloss – whether in glamour magazines, fashion or photography – possessed a special status in those years, making up for the squalor of past life in contrast to which unlimited possibilities of consumerism were demonstrated. This compensatory principle cannot be discounted when discussing early 21st-century Russia, including the sphere of culture and visual arts. Moving to Moscow at the turn of the 2000s, Vita Buivid became one of the participants of the industry of gloss. Moscow was a new chapter in her life, a new dry land, which, though it added something to her already formed personal landscape, didn’t change it fundamentally. It was a far cry from her arrival in Leningrad a decade earlier. Vita came to Moscow as an already formed master, with a set of her own themes and techniques. For a time she, in fact, pretty much abandoned art, only seldom turning to its imagery. Paradoxically, while for many in the artistic community that was a time of great opportunities, of ascending the media Olympus, Buivid almost gave up an artist’s career that was hers for the taking. She returned to it several years later with a set of projects rather rigid in every sense: both in style and content. The projects are related to the aesthetics of both kitsch and gloss, uniting the two. The series “Familia”, “Family Portrait in the Interior” and, somewhat later, “Pelts of the Bobrov Family” and “Mothers-Daughters’ are dedicated to family conflicts or, more broadly, to the unprovoked violence and psychological pressure that accompany any interpersonal communication. In all four projects, Buivid uses the optics of direct photography – with much more confidence than in earlier series. And the substantive solutions themselves are stressed with such candour, that they puzzled some critics for whom the powerful effect of the author’s message seemed to be overwhelming. In these works, Buivid shares the position of an artist with that of a psychotherapist: the therapeutic effect of “Familia” has been pointed out, for example, by Viktor Mazin. But the principle of mounting conflict leads Buivid to further topics: subjects related to war.

The mood of alarm was growing in Buivid as she was approaching our present day, regardless of external circumstances. Like any poet, she unconsciously and despite herself has been sharing with us her premonitions of war: from the project “Morning in a Pine Forest” to “Inquisition” and “Peonymania” with “How I Spent My Summer” certainly being a centrepiece. “Love” is gradually becoming a “trickle of smoke” with the distinct addition of the smell of burning and the sound of the cannonade. With the beginning of military operations in Ukraine, her projects began to form into a consistent program. Such projects as “Artek” and “Untitled” move from the familiar territory of photography into the space of the installation. An almost complete abandonment of photography takes Buivid’s art into the sphere of rigidly constructed projects that contrast with the former sensuality of her stills. At the same time, in the series “For External Usage” she tries to reach the limit of the possibilities of the painterly by turning to bodily fluids, “riding the painterly to death” (K. Bokhorov). For Buivid, working with the difficult material of war routine also means turning to her Ukrainian past – a symbolic return in search of an identity.

The quintessence of Buivid’s photographic style is the series “How I Spent My Summer,” in which she turns to the source of her creative work literally rather than metaphorically. This series is created on the basis of stills she took when she was 11 (at the same age her teacher Matus was taking his first photographs, later also “activated” by him in “grown- up” photographic presentations). These are pictures taken in a pioneer camp, with typical summer landscapes. In some of them, the artist-to-be also acts as a model. The pictures were dismissed by Vita’s parents but carefully preserved by her older sister. They were actualized by Buivid smack on the eve of the “little victorious war” in South Ossetia: apart from being printed in a large format and painted, these canvases became the foundation of the collage with the black-and-white figures of soldiers and military equipment invading idyllic landscapes. The latter is sewn on with thick white thread and seem easy to tear off; the image, however, becomes acuter precisely because of the unresolved juxtaposition of war and peace. One cannot gloss over Buivid’s prophetic gift: soon similar things would start to happen not far from the places where her childhood pictures had been taken. But these thin fabric panels are valuable not because of their foresight but because of the depth of the author’s reflection that pierces time and weds personal presence to the tragic ways of the world. This is an example of justified humanism, so needed in today’s complicated ethical circumstances: scrutinising oneself in an attempt to offer solutions for preserving the peace, as flimsy as this fabric.

Buivid has been working in photography for about thirty years – a significant period of time. Her modus operandi in the series “How I Spent My Summer” and “Past Painted” allows her, by returning to her origins, to re-launch the mechanisms of time in modern photography. “Past Painted” draws the line under Buivid’s work for today. A series that has spread over the years bears the auras and energies of completely different times and spaces: here, geographical frames are projected on practically the entire planet, while the temporal ones – on the entire century. This series sums up the artist’s attitude to colour in photography. Buivid is not simply a colourist – a choice inescapable for each creator, who uses a brush and canvas. Her use of colour in photography doesn’t quite follow the laws of colour in classical painting. Nor does her use of colour follow the mimetic principles or correspond to the implied real colour of things in a photograph (though, since the pictures are black-and-white, we can only guess what colour it is). The combination of odd colours creates “the Fantomas effect” (which the author juxtaposes with memory’s work over vague recollections), referring the viewer to the practice of surrealism – not stylistically, but as an attempt to break beyond the threshold of empirical reality. She seems to oppose the classical black-and-white photography that transmits the world in a tonality that in fact doesn’t exist, thereby calling into question photography’s claim to truth. The once received inoculation of painting, with its construction of space and inner, can- vas-borne light, changes the plane, accessibility and soullessness of photography. Any photo by definition captures a moment and stops time, but Buivid, as if resisting this axiom, always seems to be re-launching time, disproving the unshakable conventions of the still frame and death. She tries to break the photograph’s “ring of power.” We know nothing about the people in “Past Painted” other than the fact that at some point they were caught by the lens of a camera. But grafting colour upon them like a live branch, the artist gives them the opportunity to live a second life in the image, actualizing them not even for modernity but for the postponed and expected tomorrow. Metaphorically, this is a resurrection. Buivid’s photography is a powerful weapon in the war, that art wages against the implacability of time.