“As everybody knows, one never sees the Sun in one’s dreams, even though one is aware of a light far more luminous.” - Gerard de Nerval, Selected Writings
The project The Eternal Return by photographer Alan Knox explores the dichotomy between the universal and particular, presenting a non linear, personal family narrative of bereavement, separation and reunification through dreamscapes and mythic archetypes.
In ancient alchemy, Sol Niger (Black Sun) referred to the dark light used to illuminate the soul of the departed. Composing black and white landscapes, still-lifes, and personal family photos in a series of collages on a windowpane to obscure the light of the Sun, this series seeks to question the obfuscating effect of photographs in the cyclical nature of mourning and the passing of memories from generation to generation.
By physically obscuring the light of the passing Sun with chemically printed black and white photographs, The Eternal Return further seeks to addresses photography’s links to alchemy as the ancient forerunner to chemistry, inviting the viewer to decode the photograph as an alchemical trace of light within darkness and darkness within light.
The title refers to Friedrich Nietzsche’s theory of the eternal return in which he proposed that every finite life repeats ad infinitum in a cosmic loop.