The Finnish photography questions family relationship through intriguing portraits. A reflection on the links and the differences between each individual to see at the Gallery Les filles du Calvaire in Paris.
The hands on a face, the face annoyed by these hands … Nelli Palomäki’s portraits vibrate of these astonishing shots between people of the same family. A brother and a brother, two sisters, three children … all of them are holding each other, clutching each other, grabbing each other’s hands. It is the materialization of the family bond that underlines the photographer in elegant shots in black and white. We immediately think of Arthur Rimbaud’s poem “The seekers of Lice”.
When the child’s brow, tormented by red,
Implores the white crowd of half-seen dreams,
Two charming sisters come close to his bed
Slender-fingered, with silver nails it seems.
Like those “two lovely big sisters,” the characters in Nelli Palomäki’s photographs brush each other as if looking for lice. Some let themselves be handled, others rebel. There is a tension around this tender or tortuous moment depending on the nature of the fraternal relationship.
“These portraits show the physical closeness between brothers and sisters and at the same time underline the discomfort of being so close. (…) It is captivating to see how some brothers and sisters are united, while others suffer from being so close, “says the photographer. In fact, the eyes of the people photographed speak. They tell the state of this relationship where sometimes there are comparisons, rivalries. They also tell of a strange love, ineffable, charged with a mystical depth. Is it the bonds of blood that make us be related to the beings of one’s family or the individual construction over time? Is it innate or acquired? And how, in the pre-existing schemas, is the personal path? These are all the questions that Nelli Palomäki’s work arouses and perhaps even more so on the eve of the Christmas holidays when these notions are questioned again.
Nelli Palomäki, Shared
November 30, 2018 to January 12, 2019
Gallery The Girls of Calvary – 17 Rue des filles du Calvaire