How can one represent something visually that is by its very essence unrepresentable, without banalizing it, trivializing it, spectacularizing it, and finally, repressing it for a second time? Catharsis (2019-2020) prioritizes a lived experience and explores traumatic memory not from the perspective of moral and medical classifications, but instead as an open artistic inquiry. The images that comprise the series originate from the past, but additionally enliven the emotions in the present time. Mingling somewhere between anxiety and confrontation with reality, the series may be interpreted as a photographic representation of the common human experience of trauma combined with a narrative that stems from Zhengova’s personal encounter. She believes that the creation and viewing of trauma-related art can plant the seed for mutual acceptance and understanding in society, an ethical process that ultimately lifts existing stigmas surrounding different traumas and helps those suffering from trauma recover and ultimately achieve catharsis. By exposing ourselves to our most vulnerable memories, we can finally begin to see each other in an empathic way. The project was additionally published as a photobook which includes an essay, Zhengova’s childhood drawings and archival imagery.
Linda Zhengová (b.1995) is a Czech photographer and writer currently based in the Netherlands. She uses the medium of photography to challenge the existing boundaries and taboos surrounding the themes of gender, sexuality, and trauma. Her works are an intersection of academic and visual research. At the moment, she is editorially contributing to GUP Magazine, EEP Berlin and Discarded Magazine, which are platforms showcasing the developments of contemporary photography. She is the author of The Ambiguity of Visual Representations of Trauma (2020) and Catharsis (2021). She is also the curator of XXX a new section of Discarded Magazine showcasing the vision of contemporary erotic photography.