Paula Luttringer’s wailing walls
Argentine photographer Paula Luttringer's exhibition "Lamento de los Muros" (The Wailing of the Walls) started at Drik Gallery on February 11. The exhibition is part of the second phase of Chobi Mela V, which will continue till February 20 at several venues in the city.
Paula's series provides a window to her troubled past; she is one of many victims of Argentina's Dirty War (during the 1970s and early '80s). In 1977, Paula escaped to neighbouring Uruguay after having been kidnapped and held for five months in a secret detention centre in her homeland Argentina.
Returning home from the exile in 1995, photography became a means of expression to her. Her work delves into recent history and her biography. Abstract in style, the images on display at the "Lamento de los Muros" exhibition feature the walls of secret detention centres where, like Paula, many women were imprisoned.
Paula describes, "In the 16th and 17th centuries it was not unusual to come across 'Cabinets de Curiosités' (cabinets of curiosities) stones on which strange patterns could be observed. It was thought that these patterns were created when the stones absorbed imprints of the violence that had taken place nearby. I have a collection of these stones because they remind me of the marks which I feel are inscribed on my body and the bodies of other Argentine women who suffered enforced disappearance and torture during the Dirty War 30 years ago."
The walls seemingly bear witness to the violence enacted on the detainees. To augment her work, Paula later searched for women who lived through enforced disappearance, asking them to talk about their memories.
In 1996, Paula was chosen by the Museum of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires as one of the 20 "New Generation Photographers." In 1999, she won the Best Portfolio Prize at PhotoEs and was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship in 2001.