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Promises To Keep.

Photographs by Max Pam. Text by Laura Serani.
L’Artiere Editions, Bentivoglio, Italy, 2016. 104 pp., color illustrations, 24½x30½".

Publisher's Description

'With a title that invites you to imagine even before you’ve flipped through the book’s pages, Max Pam’s album, a compendium of maps, photographs/postcards and notes, recalls, most immediately, a travel journal.

The journal of a long voyage begun in the 1970s, which has repeatedly taken him back to India, to the Far East, to London or Paris, and whose starting and ending point is always Australia.

Ultimately, however, and notwithstanding the importance of travel to the artist’s trajectory, this is not so much a travel journal as a diary that confirms Pam’s interest in photography and his turn to it as a form of autobiographical expression. In order to tell his own history – as well as his stories – Max Pam has invented and gradually perfected an original visual language that recognizes no distinctions between writing and photography, between an image borrowed and an image taken, between the effects of chemistry and those of painting, between collage and patchwork. The result is a collection of forcefully suggestive images that, in breathtaking sequences, establish dialogues among reality, hallucinations, references of all kinds, the intimate and social spheres.

It recalls the early days of modern photography, when the postcard phenomenon exploded; a phenomenon that lasted only a couple of decades, at the beginning of the last century, but that profoundly marked not only the era’s popular imaginary, whose desires and aspirations it reflected (promises of love, vacation and progress) but also the artistic avant-gardes of the Twenties and Thirties. A flourishing industry that developed mainly in Europe, it privileged real photographic prints, on silver gelatin, that were later colored by hand, or otherwise photo-collages made by combining images and drawings and multiple exposures, all of which were distributed in faraway continents like South America or, indeed, Australia.' — Laura Serani

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