The photographs in Maro Vandarou’s “Fragmented Light” are memento mori: They’re a product of the present but remind us of the hereafter. Vandarou recently traveled to her hometown of Athens, Greece, to take pictures of the ancient Keramicos cemetery, filled with crooked stones and crumbling, toga-clad statues. Perhaps because its inhabitants are old enough to have known Helen of Troy personally, the photographs of Keramicos don’t convey our usual experience with cemeteries, like fearfulness, discomfort, and grief. Instead, the cemetery’s age, combined with the detachment Vandarou encourages with her faux-antique process, permits us to become transfixed with the markers themselves, with little regard for their owners. The exhibit’s 16 images are platinotypes, a 19th-century printing process that produces entirely matte photographs and a broad range of black and white tones. Vanradrou’s images are also hung on gampi, a translucent Japanese paper that adds to the exhibit’s feeling of fragility—for mortality, or for the delicate photos, but not for the tombstones that have persevered for more than a thousand years. Taken together, the images evoke the familar Latin phrase stolen from Hippocrates: “Ars longa, vita breva,” or, “Art is long, life is short.”
THE EXHIBITION IS ON VIEW MONDAY 10 A.M. TO 5 P.M., TUESDAY-FRIDAY 10 A.M. TO 7 P.M., AND SATURDAY 11 A.M. TO 4 P.M. TO FRIDAY, OCT. 31, AT HILLYER ART SPACE, 9 Hillyer Court NW. Free. (202) 338-0680.