Francesca Woodman famously wrote in her journal, “Am I in the picture? Am I getting in or out of it?” an appeal that is in some ways answered by Slovakian photographer Viktória Kollerová’s own self-portraits, images which appear collectively under a Tumblr titled A Girl Who Tried to Disappear.
The comparison between Woodman and Kollerová is inevitable; like Woodman decades earlier, Kollerová is young woman unafraid to dive headlong into the murky and often painful corners of the human psyche. She shoots in black and white, and her primary subject is her own body. She finds ambiguous, impenetrable locations in various states of decay and weaves through them like a serpent.
As the title of the collection suggests, Kollerová is indeed attempting to vanish from the picture frame–as Woodman might say, to “get out of it”– and yet the camera always seems to catch up at the last available instant. The lens, so often meant to hold onto things that slip inevitably into the past, becomes her captor. It’s a precarious game, played out in the landscapes of Slovakia and Portugal, sometimes in the home in which Kollerová spent her girlhood. Occasionally, a friend makes an appearance.
Like the artist’s physical figure, the meanings of Kollerová’s portraits are shifty and fugacious. She’s leading us down with her into the dungeons of our own minds, whispering something inaudible, and leaving us there in darkness.
All images © Viktória Kollerová