Aurel Salzer


“A little boy went out to play. When he opened his door, he saw the world. As he passed through the doorway, he caused a reflection. Evil was born. Evil was born, and followed the boy.“ (An “Old Tale” from David Lynch’s “Inland Empire” told by Visitor #1.)
According to the French psychoanalyst Jaques Lacan the view of one’s self changes, in fact is only even possible at all, after the child starts to recognize itself in the mirror.
The child’s experience of unity with themselves through bringing together its object image in the mirror and its subject- being is at first only imagined or thought, however it already implies a separation of the world in terms of a previously non-existent possibility of distinguishing in I and non-I. Only later in youth this experience of “not to be world” is transformed into feelings. But the recognition in the mirror is a misrecognition at the same time and the beginning of alienation. The child starts to identify with something that it does not feel and was not before, namely with its total form of the body, at a place where it is not existing – in the mirror. This results in division of the subject in “moi” the ideal ego and “je”, the social ego. Therefore, the well-known Lacanian formulation: “Le je n‘est pas le moi.” The loss, being incomplete and separated, is the trigger of the child‘s desire. Since the split it wants to be complete again and attempts to fill this gap in the subject with objects. But this lack however can never be ultimately fulfilled – the object remains an always already lost and unattainable thing. Thus it is clear that a return to the “paradisiacal” original primitive state of unity with the world is not possible. The development of the ego in the order of recognition/misrecognition, separateness/ alienation, lack, and the impossibility of fully returning to the original state of the unit, forms the basis of ADAM. Lacan says that these stages of development can never be completely fulfilled or overcome and remain latent as a trace so that the possibility of regression is always there. Reverberated on the viewer, I think of it as follows: regression through identification and identification by self-reflection. Since I left my home I have dealt intensely with ideas of identity and its relation to my past; thus ADAM can be understood as a portrait with autobiographical aspects.

Aurel Salzer was born in 1992 in the vicinity of Basel in Switzerland, where he grew up with four sisters, his parents working in the educational and artistic field. After completing the basic art education at Zürcher Hochschule der Künste, he startet studying photography at Berliner Technische Kunsthochschule in 2014. For his personal as well as commissioned work he travels all around Europe, especially fascinated by countries such as Iceland and Sweden, he also regularly returns to his hometown in Switzerland. His work has been exhibited in Copenhagen, Berlin and during the Rencontres de la Photographie in Arles.