Milena Deparis

City:

Introduction
These photographs are part of my collection Hidden Canvases of Brighton, showcasing hidden pieces of work through abstract compositions. My work has always been rooted in my intrigue of rusting objects and deteriorating surfaces – the ugly and ignored. Photography has always been a channel of escapism with the existential necessity to look outwards, which has led to an exploration of the immense beauty in the unobserved imperfections and irregularities of our surrounding world.
Metaphorically speaking, a hidden canvas is an invisible piece of art that is waiting to be seen. My aim is to capture and reveal them in an abstract, two-dimensional style that adheres to a certain asymmetry. I wish to evoke an appreciation for nameless art and an emotional understanding of our abandoned world and the abandonment of ourselves.
Story
The story behind these photos and the particular naming of these photos reflect a painful but freeing journey of abuse and escape and the consequential effects on mental health. This story focuses on my intuition, knowing, and synchronicity when naming my images and how, in retrospective, they reveal our true state of minds and suffering which we are not completely conscious of until later.
Titling my photographs is something extremely important to me. I feel that the titles that accompany art are the truest and most unique reflection of the artist; a manner of allowing the audience to further access a deeper part of the person. A way of gently pushing the audience's direction and understanding of the piece. The title can be obvious or elusive, like a game where the audience must connect how the piece fits with the title and vice versa. An art piece's title is the cherry on top of the cake; the cake being the art in itself.
The process of naming my work usually comes from natural reactions and first word reactions. With the majority of my pieces, I will either have a word pop up in my mind that I believed, at the time, reflected the aesthetic ensemble of the photograph. I believed that the abstract and emotional undertones of the words reflected my general academic and sensory experience and comprehension of living in our society. However, with time and retrospection, I realized that my titles revealed more about myself and my mental health.
These photographs were taken, collection, organised, named and published while I was in an abusive relationship lasting five and a half years. This relationship involved emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. This personal and unfortunate circumstance affected my mental health in unfathomable ways and consequently, affected my photography more than I realized.
After leaving this person, fully realizing what I had endured, and coming to terms with that time in my life, I went through my images and collections as I usually do. But this time it was different. As I scanned through the photographs, something strong came over me as I read the titles, something I had never felt before in relation to my photographs. I was engulfed with an overwhelming emotion of comprehension and sadness as I fully realized that my titles also reflected my innermost experience – and I cried like I have never cried before.
These three particular titles (Broken, Stuck, Desperate) evoked a real acknowledgement, from myself to myself, of the abuse I did not deserve to endure, and the deeply buried emotions that I denied while I was in this relationship. I saw clearly that one's art truly reveals our soul's essence at the moment of creation.
Conclusion
To conclude this story, I will briefly talk about the last image titled Desperate. With some of my images that include a word or phrase, I usually do further research to see if there is anything interesting or relevant to the piece. However, with this particular piece, I instinctively decided not to investigate the sticker link because I felt it would be too obvious a form of promotion to whatever was awaiting at the end of the link. Instead, the phrase IN REACH and the colour tones in themselves were enough; they spoke to me in a deep sense.
A few years later I randomly decided to search the link in question. What awaited me was nothing short of serendipitous and fateful in nature. While today the link leads me to a media platform for London's leading underground music, at the time, the link was for a mental health organisation that provided support and information for those struggling with mental health issues.
With these images and my statement, I hope to shed light on all those who have, continue to, and might one day suffer abuse at the hands of another. I also aim to give hope that no matter how long it takes and how difficult it is, one can remove oneself from such a situation and find true meaning and life at the end of it. I aim to present how art truly reflects our innermost journeys and mental health and that even through pain, creates utmost beauty.
 

Broken
Stuck
Desperate