In her series, “My little one comes first (2001-2004)”, Yolanda del Amo mimics and updates pages of a photographic album (seven of a total of sixteen pages are on display here). Juxtaposing vintage images and vernacular sayings from her Spanish grandmother with her own contemporary compositions, del Amo creates a true album of the everyday, aptly strewn with troublesome memories and mundane moments. Ultimately, it is, and was (her grandmother has since passed away), a dialogue and a personal tribute.
The sometimes-bitter truths of her grandmother’s observations speak to what we reveal versus what we conceal in such an album format. The advice has been carefully worded and translated, then captured on a black background using a vernacular font. A personality and story line emerge after reading several (“There’s a man in my building who keeps asking for a picture of me, but I don’t give photographs to anybody, much less to some guy who can’t be more than 70”). On what can be read as the last page of the album, a photograph of a simple interior is placed next to an image of del Amo as a child. The text announces: “Your grandfather loved you very much, but I don’t want to be buried next to that bastard.” One photograph has been removed; the empty photo corners serve as the only trace.
Del Amo is a recent MFA graduate from Rhode Island School of Design and currently divides her time between teaching in Providence and living in New York. She has exhibited at SoHo20 Gallery in New York, the Danforth Museum of Art, the ASA Gallery in New Mexico, as well as galleries in Argentina and Spain.
“The photograph album remains the only place where all these fleeting perfections are saved and juxtaposed, each aspiring to an incomparable absoluteness of its own.” - Italo Calvino, The Adventure of a Photographer
Family albums usually record particular highlights of family history—births, weddings, parties, festival celebrations, holidays—but not feelings of disappointment and frustration, death or divorce, or the everyday banal. I am interested in the construction of a “photo-album” not as the record of climatic moments, but rather as a dialogue between two age groups, a dialogue that embraces and addresses “anti-climatic” moments and frustrations in the conversation, that has a subtextual tone of acidity, and a critical stand on each generation.
The body of work My Little One Comes First (2001-04) is an exploration of the relationship between a grandmother and granddaughter in Spain during the last decades of the 20th century. Through the juxtaposition of old and new photographs and of images of myself and my grandmother, I explore the differences and similarities between our generations, and the projection of her unfulfilled expectations onto the younger generation.
This “album” records a conversation between past and present, and ultimately between two girlfriends of different generations.
CAPTION: Yolanda del Amo (Brooklyn, NY), from the series, “My Little One Comes First,” 2001-2004, Digital C-print, 23 ½ x 20 inches, courtesy of the artist. Del Amo is a recent MFA graduate from RISD and has exhibited at SoHo20 Gallery in New York, the Danforth Museum of Art, the ASA Gallery in New Mexico, as well as galleries in Argentina and Spain.