The project, entitled Borders of Love: Trauma as Motivation to Create Art. Photography as Therapy, is defined by a set of research questions: Is it possible through an artistic experiment connected to examining the topic of love to learn to understand love better and express it better? How is it even possible to perceive and understand love? And can you through art live a fuller life, have better relationships with loved ones and those around you, and become more empathetic?
Within this work, Czech photographer Dita Pepe (1973) would like to establish the initial premise that within her creative profession her own trauma served from the start as strong motivation to create art. But creating one-off works of art does not represent an absolute solution to the problems connected to living through trauma. Healing a deep wound on the soul is not a matter of one or two years, but work for your entire lifetime. Pepe sees photography primarily as therapy, not as a means to fulfill her artistic ambitions or as a livelihood. She purposefully does not take on commercial projects; she chooses strong and important topics that shape her and have the power to influence positively her life, or at least facets of it.
The book Borders of Love is the practical (and creative) part of a dissertation titled Trauma as Motivation to Create Art. Photography as Therapy. The aim of this theoretical dissertation (based on this published practical part) is to model the output of how to approach art through photography so that it has therapeutic effects. In individual chapters of this book, Dita Pepe expresses her thoughts on topics that are the most personal to her. It is on these topics within her research that she wishes to subsequently show the therapeutic potential which creating photographs had for her, and for others engaged in this work. To summarize, on the first evaluation of this project it is clear that photography served her primarily as a tool and pretext for meeting other people. Thanks to these interactions, she then had the opportunity to look at the topics she is researching through their eyes.
The exhibition in the FOG gallery primarily focuses on the chapter On Self-love, about which artist Krystyna Dul wrote for the EMoP Luxembourg 2023 catalog: “Dita Pepe in her artistic practice explores the vast array of possible lives and identities she could have had in parallel realities. The notion of the «what if…» question leads her towards an investigation of other women’s experiences, here particularly – female sex workers. Their stories and visual identities serve Pepe as filters to focus on her own feelings while questioning power games. By putting on costumes, she dresses into their visual and emotional skins in order to stage a performance in front of her own camera. Wandering through a world of countless possibilities, she seeks her own space, her own path.”