Joachim Froese – ‘Archive’

Joachim Froese’s series ‘Archive’ – still lifes of stacked in unstable towers books and china arranged in multiple panels as a ‘portrait’ of loss and a metaphor for memory constructed in our heads.

After the death of the artist’s German mother, her possessions were packed up randomly in boxes and sent to his home in Australia. When he unpacked them, because they were taken out of the context of his mother’s place, he couldn’t feel the same emotional connection. They looked “strangely unfamiliar and my relationship with them was ambiguous to say the least… The resulting photographs show objects that couldn’t stand up in reality. My ‘archive’ subsequently depicts imaginary scenarios presenting only an illusion of stability and rationality.”

Joachim Froese - Archive

Joachim Froese – Archive


“In contemporary society the idea of the archive plays an important role in the construction of knowledge and history, both public and private. We collect things to preserve a past that no longer exists. The medium of photography directly relates to this concept: the photograph deals with “what was” and thus plays a significant part in our perception of the past. It is one of the essential foundations on which we build elaborate mental structures to reassure our view of the world. As soon as we file the past in our personal archive of memories we select and construct – without realizing that many of the structures we are about to build are as unsound as the ones depicted in my work.”

‘Archive’ (2008) is the third and the last part of the project devoted to his mother, he made within two years to overcome the pain. The other two are ‘Portrait of my mother’ (2006) and ‘Written in the Past’ (2007).