Journey II, 1997, C-print, nfs

Journey II, 1997, C-print

Janaina Tschäpe (Brazil)

JANAINA TSCHÄPE’S large-scale color photographs from her Journey Series are very private and intimate.  She, like Alexander Apóstol, discusses her own personal identity, but in a highly different way.  In this series Tschäpe has created self-portraits as a vehicle through which the theme of the breakup with her boyfriend is symbolically portrayed. They express how man and woman often become one and indistinguishable in a relationship. The Church also encourage man and woman to become “one” and still, in most of the macho Latin world, the woman can be expected to be “one” with her husband. The power of that view is illustrated by Tschäpe of her own reality first as a woman and secondly as one half-Brazilian, as she spent her formative years in her mother’s native country. She photographed her self-image as an entrapment.  At first glance, it’s an intriguing looking portrait that spurs your imagination and raises some questions, which require answers. By placing a caste of a translucent latex mask of the boyfriend over her own face, she captured graphically how one loses ones own identity. “She is indicating not simply that she relied on biography but that she constructed herself in her [photographs],” as Sarah M. Lowe has written on Frida Kahlo and her structurally similar painted self portraits. Tschäpe comes across as sad and indifferent to the viewer. There is a world passing her by, as seen in the background of each image, regardless of how diffuse it may be: A view from a balcony, a landscape as seen from a train in motion, and waves on the ocean as seen from the beach. A new search starts to rediscover her own identity.