Photini Papahatzi, London
geboren 1966 in Athen, Griechenland.
Untitled, Matanzas, Cuba.1997
In the beginning of the 60's the famous portrait of Korda turned Guevara
into a martyr and icon for a generation of leftists. Ironically, 30 years
after the death of Che, the revolutionary that fought capitalism, the same
capitalist market economy is selling his image. Like a ghost Che's image is
recycled on CD covers, keychains watches, beer bottles and rafts of other
modern kitsch and yet echoes Barthes words; 'the Photograph mechanically
repeats what could never be repeated existentially. Although the image of
Che appears everywhere in Cuba for propaganda reasons, it now competes with
the newly arrived commercial billboards. According to Barthes again ' every
photograph is a certificate of presence' yet what remains of this presence
seems to be only its certificate, sitting between two empty chairs, like the
symbol of the death of ideology.
Finally, the two empty chairs remind the discourse of absence/presence that
inspired Van Gogh to use them as portraits of their regular users. While the
two chairs symbolise the assimilation of the image of Che in the art
world -even in this photograph- their emptiness implies the death of Che's
image as a symbol of ideology through its endless reproduction.