Karla Hiraldo Voleau turns heartbreak into empowerment as she reclaims her story

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Following the shocking discovery that her partner was leading a double life within another relationship, Karla Hiraldo Voleau created a raw, truthful work that delineates closeness and desire, and frees her from her former lover

Honesty is so essential in love and wish, ” says Lisa Taddeo. “But we tend to switch a lot of things up because we are afraid. ” The United states author, whose work is a searingly honest record of 21st century sexual national politics, is on a mission to instil the complexity of women’s sexuality into our culture. In her book, 3 Women (2019), Taddeo takes a forensic look at desire and how it is entangled in every element of life. “Since the increase of the #MeToo movement, we’ve been able to talk loudly about what we don’t want, but not about what we do really want, ” says Taddeo. “People, including other women, don’t want to hear about women’s desire. ”

Taddeo’s work lights up the culture of shame that imprisons women, whether they are owning their desires or addressing their sex trauma. She describes women’s urgent and necessary have to communicate without fear of retribution. Like Taddeo, Karla Hiraldo Voleau harnesses the messy and challenging aspects of the girl life experience as individual and collective therapy. The particular French-Dominican artist has spent the last five years looking into the complexity of adore, sex, desire and reduction across various cultures through Japan to Italy. Through gender dynamics and look to sexuality and break-ups, Hiraldo Voleau blends efficiency and photography to build a website of action and exploration.

In her latest function, Another Like Story , premiering in the Maison Européenne de una Photographie in June as part of its Really like Songs time of year, Hiraldo Voleau reveals her most personal work to date. Initially, the project was conceived as a romantic homage to love, describing how the performer and a previous partner (known as ‘X’ for anonymity) found their way back to each other after a four-year separation.

The project was then radically reimagined when the lady discovered that X had a double life and was living with another woman. The revelations prompted a profound interruption of her inner plus outer world. She has been left confronting the challenging reality of finding herself dispossessed in her own story.

“Things were starting to not really feel right, ” explains Hiraldo Voleau. “Cracks were showing. Lies were emerging. This led me to contact his ex-girlfriend, ‘A’, seemingly unprovoked. It was one year after we all got back together, and I wished to ask her why the lady was still in contact with our boyfriend. She replied, ‘Well, he’s my boyfriend as well. I live with him. I’ve been his girlfriend regarding four years. We are endeavoring to have a baby’. ” Hiraldo Voleau was shocked. “We realised we were each other’s ‘other woman’. In a seven-minute conversation, we found out that By was a master manipulator plus someone with deep troubles. ” Hiraldo Voleau immediately booked a train to Paris and the two women fulfilled. “We both broke up with him in a dramatic way on the same day. After all of us discovered everything, he refused my story and tried to silence me. ”

In an attempt to reconcile this trauma and reclaim her story, Hiraldo Voleau metabolises the break-up by retelling it. Using a combination of unique images and re-enactments created with an actor, she visualises the transformation from the couple’s initial explosion of really like and sensuality, to the painful distance and tension since things fall apart. Together these types of fragments of the relationship turn out to be proof of its existence. Hiraldo Voleau initially worked with an actor for legal factors, but the act of making the work together ultimately emancipated the girl from her former partner.

“Discovering that your partner has a double life makes you question every thing. You start wondering who’s whom? Who was this man? What was real? My only way to move forward was to claim back my voice and our narrative by making this project”

“Every image where you see X’s encounter, I remade, ” explains Hiraldo Voleau. “The pictures where you don’t see his face are the original picture. It’s about 80 % reconstruction, 20 per cent genuine. It was important to include the authentic images as it further blurs the notion of a double life and multiple fictions plus realities. Discovering that your companion has a double life makes you question everything. You start thinking who’s who? Who was this particular man? What was real? My only way to move forward has been to reclaim my tone of voice and my narrative by making this project. ”

Another Love Story is presented chronologically in 13 panels associated with images, one for each 30 days of the rekindled romance. Mimicking an Instagram feed, Hiraldo Voleau reflects upon the particular staging of love and photography’s slippery role as the unreliable witness. It lies bare the social contract to memorialise our human relationships online, the pressure in order to perpetuate perfection and the chokehold of keeping up appearances. In the spaces between each board, we gain access to Hiraldo Voleau’s dramatic and revelatory conversation with A. Presented as a screenplay, it complicates and contradicts the images while reinforcing the performative nature associated with romance.

On the surface, Another Like Story is about unlikely private transformations and what drives individuals to heal, reclaim themselves and bounce back after heartbreak. However the project’s real work teases out the visceral plus vital agency of women’s desire and pain and exactly how talking about it is perhaps the primary way to survive it. Hiraldo Voleau sits alongside the generation of cultural storytellers – from Michaela Coel, Abigail Bergstrom, Phoebe Waller-Bridge to Lisa Taddeo – who use their art to unapologetically centre the lives of young women in every their complexity.

Jewel Fletcher

Creative director, writer, podcaster and photograph director, Gem Fletcher functions across visual-cultural fields, focusing on emerging talent in contemporary photography and art. She actually is the photo director associated with Riposte Magazine, and hosts a photography podcast, The Messy Truth.

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