In her photobook “Nihilartikel”, Australia-based Poland-born artist Izabela Pluta combines aerial drone footage, darkroom prints of obscure or out-of-print oceanic maps and stills taken from underwater video footage shot in the seas around Malta and Japan. Through her use of various perspectives, techniques, formats and media, Pluta interrogates central questions of photography, such as the meaning and importance of truth and authenticity, and the difficulties involved in representation. The titular term of the “nihilartikel”, a German word for intentional errors made to identify plagiarism of maps, encyclopedias or musical scores, provides the thematic subtext for the work, while the sensual inspiration for the series comes from the artist’s own experience of disorientation and loss of perspective while deep-water diving in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Japan. Though highly conceptual in nature, Pluta’s images possess a fascination and beauty beyond the purely cerebral.
“It makes sense that Pluta’s photographs are often displayed in spatial installations that cannot be grasped from a single frontal perspective. They require a physical experience, an embodied relating-to, in which one perceives oneself amid the work, rather than just in front of it. The resulting loss of a fixed location is painful and beguilingly beautiful at the same time, almost like diving – an experience that, once had, begs to be repeated. One wants to return to Pluta’s images over again.”
― from Ramona Heinlein’s afterword “The Uncertainty of Location” (included in English & German)