Péter Türk
Constable Phenomena from
Changing Details of the Same
Five Constable Paintings
(Psychograms) 1-2

Photograph, psychogram, 18 x 24 cm each, 1983

I take my inspiration for my works from the pleasures and intimate "events" of watching and imagination. I use the requisites of photography: photo negatives, light, projection, a mask, photosensitive paper, developer, fixative.


The photo negatives preserve the images of reality which I see every day, which are captured in my nerves, and which have almost become a part of my body, the basis of my imagination and thinking. These negatives are the archives of forms, of which I can select any segment using the light-beam of a projector.

When I place a mask - a punctured sheet of paper - in the path of the light of the enlarger, only a tiny detail of the image is allowed to appear on the photosensitive paper. These small dots, selected by the mask, are the basic elements of my pictures. These are optical units, which are familiar and dear to my eyes. They are such small accents, such severely pruned pictures of "reality," that almost nothing can be seen of them. They are richly diverse, and any potential new whole can be constructed from them without the parts being obtrusive. Anything can evolve from them.

I try to follow the movement of my eyes with the mask. I put the mask at the place at which it feels good to look within the picture. I rely on the pleasure of being able to see, to watch, without making any plans. I look at a picture for as long as I like.

This is how the so-called psychogram materialises after development. This is a system consisting of lighter and darker areas, determined by the direction the light takes through the mask and the length it lingers at a certain place. The process can be repeated, so that constantly changing series can be produced.

I further improved this simple method by projecting the psychogram of more than one negative on the same sheet of paper. The entire process becomes uncontrollable this way, with the shapes assembling freely from the small traces of light. Parallel with the personal event -- the watching -- another impersonal happening takes place on a different level.

To know exactly what the sensitive paper has actually captured, I have to wait for the picture to be developed. These are the moments of the form's birth. I gave my series of pictures the title Phenomena.

I marked them with letters and numbers in the order of their birth.
Péter Türk, 1987

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