With works by Fabrizio Bellomo, Christto&Andrew, Martina della Valle, Annabel Elgar, Sanna Kannisto, Taisuke Koyama, Alberto Sinigaglia and The Cool Couple
curated by Alessandro Carrer, Sergio Giusti and Paola Paleari
April 12, 2017 – June 3, 2017
Metronom, Modena (Italy)
ANTOLOGIA is a group exhibition curated by Alessandro Carrer, Sergio Giusti and Paola Paleari with a selection of works by Fabrizio Bellomo, Christto&Andrew, Martina della Valle, Annabel Elgar, Sanna Kannisto, Taisuke Koyama, Alberto Sinigaglia and The Cool Couple.
In connection with Generazione critica project, started in 2013, Carrer, Giusti e Paleari were asked to explore the gallery’s archive as a starting point for free associations and new connections between the gallery’s represented artists and their artworks.
The show is the result of a critical re-reading of Metronom’s recent history; by picking into what the gallery has presented through its activity, the curators deepen the work of individual artists, evaluating the evolution of individual researches and at the same time offering an overall vision of the gallery’s identity.
The exhibition Antologia will be the occasion for a series of public conversation between artists and curators and will be connected with the activities of the online platform generazionecritica.it.
Christto & Andrew, The Cool Couple, Annabel Elgar
Word as Object
by Paola Paleari
My reflection for the retrospective exhibition at Metronom takes its premise on the concept of “World as Object” formulated by Roland Barthes in the homonymous essay written in 1953. Here, the philosopher looks at the Dutch painting of the Seventeenth century as a manifestation of the strong social and political changes of that time, characterized by a diminishing status of religion and the rise of the bourgeois class.
The still life technique is widely used in contemporary photography, where it plays a transversal role, putting different genres, scopes and languages in communication. The centrality performed by the object, its composition and representation in present-day photography reflects the impact carried out on our daily lives by the technological and digital innovations, that are leading to an increasing dematerialization and synthesization of the tools in support of our primary functions.
To an extent equal and opposite to this phenomenon, the object is given the responsibility to embody evidence of an intangible process – no matter whether of a conceptual, formal or narrative nature – in the photographic frame. Despite differences in approach, motivation and style, each of the pictures I have chosen for the exhibition is based on the research for a synthetic composition that could condense entire systems of meaning in a single set of elements.
The images by Christto & Andrew are a clear demonstration of this process, and represent a visual compendium of external stimuli: social structures, cultural conventions, collective imagery, perception of history, time and progress. The artistic duo is based in Doha, Qatar, and this exerts a strong influence on their production, based on the depiction of the sense of surreality and estrangement typical of a country characterized by a rampant political and economic development.
The photographs by Christto & Andrew are opulent compositions, obtained through a careful study, where every detail contributes to the creation of a universe that is manipulated and exaggerated, but also deeply ironic. In the images on display, still life is the essential tool that takes advantage of the ability of inanimate objects to be analyzed and become raw material for an artistic rendering of the contemporary world.
The project Approximation to the West by The Cool Couple examines the ability of photography to be an investigative tool, in a historical moment where the metaphor on which the Western gaze is founded (the disembodied eye and the rhetoric of detachment) is gone, while contemporary society has paradoxically structured itself around visual data.
In this, still life is of great importance, as it meets the need to bear witness to the process: it represents a moment in which the imagery produced through the use of lanscape and the reworking of archival material is interrupted by a cross-section on the mechanisms in operation behind it. The tension between historical account, objectivity, storytelling and imaginary distortion is a latent theme that connects all the photographs of ATTW, but that unfolds primarly in the type of images chosen for this exhibition.
The series Cheating the Moon by Annabel Elgar takes as its starting point the investigation about the stolen and missing moon rocks from the Apollo Moon Landings of the 1960s. Of the 270 rocks that were given to the nations of the world by the Nixon administration shortly after the expeditions, approximately 180 are currently unaccounted for. The project presents an archive of lunar rock findings that refers to both factual and fictitious sources, where discerning one from the other becomes a complex proposition.
Within this frame, the object is employed as an evidence of facts, no matter if true or false, and is transformed in an autonomous spectacle by the use of the still life technique. The images chosen for this exhibition, in the contrasting combination of their seeming alienation from any given context and the precision of their captions, work to create a whole set of narrative pointers and references.
Left: Christto&Andrew, Mirror, 2015
Right: The Cool Couple, Untitled from the series Approximation to the West, 2016
Left: Annabel Elgar, Evidence – article 5. A ransom note and typewriter recovered from a furniture warehouse basement, Texas, USA, 2014
Right: Christto & Andrew, An Unusual Request, 2015