Faculty of Social and Human Sciences (UNL) Conference System, 1st Non-Monogamies and Contemporary Intimacies Conference

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Relationality and intimacy in Lisa Lindvay’s photographic series Hold Together
Agnese Sile, Aine Larkin

##manager.scheduler.building##: B Tower
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Date: 2015-09-26 02:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Last modified: 2015-08-08


The representations of illness and disease, for the most part in Western art have been associated with corruption, fragmentation, deterioration, pollution, chaos and disintegration. Love, closeness and intimacy appear at odds with this line of judgements.

Lisa Lindvay’s seven year long series Hold Together are a visual exploration of how illness can affect close relatives. The photographic series are intimate portraits of her family members struggling with her mother’s mental illness. Her mother is absent in the photographs. The portraits of her father, step brothers and a step sister from another father disclose complex emotional currents that flow between them within the family space. The kind of idealised functioning and existence of nuclear family,  propagated in mass media is thrown into question.

The photographic process itself here represents the family’s unity and togetherness, and reinforces their own awkward bonding or holding together as the title suggests. I would like to argue that photography provides an intimate space, that can be accessed not only through the visual and therefore graspable but more importantly through tactile and auditory senses in which relationships can be played out. The body of the subject of the photograph communicates though its pose, gestures, light, luminosity, transparency and motion and can express that which language cannot. Using the writings of Barthes, Blanchot and Bersani and Philips’s theory of impersonal intimacy, I will illustrate how this project challenges the notion of relationality and intimacy.