Edgar Martins was born in Évora, grew up in Macau and moved to the UK in 1996. He completed a BA in Photography at the London College of Printing & Distributive Trades and an MA in Photography and Fine Art at the Royal College of Art.
During 2016 Martins was invited by Grain Projects to undertake a commission that took as its starting point HMP Birmingham and the local area of Winson Green, north Birmingham.
Borrowing from a range of theoretical, historical, vernacular, scientific and sci-fi sources, the work signals Edgar Martins’ growing inclination towards a broader, more hybrid perspective of the practice of photography and the experience of images.
Structured as a part fictional, part documentary, part sophistic narrative, the new project seeks to reflect on incarceration as the enactment of disappearance and destinerrance.
Taking as a starting point for research HMP Birmingham and Winson Green, north Birmingham, Martins’ project addresses time, space, absence, materiality, punishment, incarceration, rehabilitation, justice, social and moral values, authenticity, authorship and access. Explored through a myriad of approaches this will result in a self-reflexive work that seeks to create points of tension between documentation, abstraction, landscape, still live and figuration.
By articulating documental, factual and fabricated records and images with photographs that seek to explore their speculative and metaphorical potential, this project addresses the realm of photography qua photography in terms of its decisive but deeply paradoxical relationship with history. The work questions whether Photography can exist outside a relationship with what it represents, outside a binary relationship with both evidence and memory or, indeed, evidence created from memory – with all its epistemological, aesthetic and ethical implications.
The work will be completed during 2018.
Photo credit: © Edgar Martins, 2017.