press release

The relationship between man and his surrounding environment is the theme behind the exhibition Sguardi da nord/Northern Lights. Reflecting with Images, opening on 27th January 2007 at 12 pm until 6th May 2007.

Curated by Filippo Maggia, the exhibition will be held in the two exhibition venues of the Galleria Civica di Modena: Palazzo Santa Margherita and Palazzina dei Giardini, organised and produced by the Galleria Civica di Modena and by the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena.

Nature and the domestic environment are seen here from the North of Europe, starting from North Italy: in fact, the show includes the research work of several of the most interesting artists on an international level: Salla Tykkä (Helsinki, 1973), Elina Brotherus (Helsinki, 1972), Annika von Hausswolff (Gothenburg, 1967), Walker and Walker (Dublin, 1962), Sarah Jones (London, 1959) and Walter Niedermayr (Bolzano, 1952).

Their research ponders the relationship that man has with the range of realities found all around him, from the domestic environment to that of nature, meant here as a place in which to reflect and gather one’s thoughts. The human figure is always a key element of these works, a protagonist even when it is not physically present. These photographs, videos and films are supposed to work like evocative paintings, drawing in the spectator with their charms, coaxing the onlooker to let himself become involved, to try and fathom the solitude of the protagonists. We question their state of being just as we would our own up to the point in which we share the same haziness, the same sense of searching, that same world-weariness that hangs over them. The natural setting, common to many of the works on show, is considered here not as a classical landscape, nor as a field in which to explicate our experiences, but rather as a place where that which is all too often oppressed by reason m ay emerge.

In the film by the brothers Pat and Joe Walker, we witness the solitary journey of a man at dusk, who walks down to the edge of a lake and, once aboard a boat, starts to row towards the centre of the lake. It is then that another man appears, identical to the first, and goes through exactly the same motions. Like in a Schnitzler story, we are no longer able to distinguish between the truth and the fruit of our own imagination. A thin veil of worry covers the faces of the adolescent girls photographed by Sarah Jones, be they lying on a bed or leaning against a tree they seem to stare at us inquisitively from their emblematic waiting, their stillness within a time charged with unresolved silences. Annika von Hausswolff exploits the senses – first and foremost that of touch – to try and translate the physical relationship that binds us to that which is familiar. The photographs of the Swedish artist unleash sudden and profoundly intimate emotions, giving wei ght and sense to those stories of real life that have penetrated the very walls around them, that have seeped into the warm wood of the floor, just like the tears and cries accompanying them. In both video and photography, Salla Tykka tends to choose women as her protagonists: be they adolescents or mature ladies, they always discover something about themselves through events that would appear to occur by chance, but which in actual fact they bring about themselves. In the films, the final outcome, the ending to the mystery which initially appears complex, is not as important as the attitude of the protagonist: little by little she lays herself bare, growing up and revealing herself through her physical relationship with a time, a place, other people. Little details and fragments come back in her black and white photographs: traces of thoughts and souls in the form of snow, trees, leather.

Elina Brotherus, protagonist of many of her own works, takes on a similar approach to the world: intimate and personal, yet though herself. She perfectly blends anthropological and cultural reasons which underline the identity and characteristics of a natural desire to understand and discover, almost infantile in its immediacy and spontaneity. Silence reigns supreme in the photographs of Walter Niedermayr, dictating the distinctions between man and nature. The latter is awarded a recognition of reality which has never really been lost or doubted, but rather which calls on human presumption to undertake a new form of dialogue to understand it.

The images, which depict the world around us like never before, speak of the world by translating its contemporary spirit into colour, without overlooking any aspect of it, for the very nature of the colour means that it is not reproduced but reflected, forcing man to finally become aware of himself and the ever-changing reality all around him.

Palazzo Santa Margherita and Palazzina dei Giardini corso Canalgrande, Modena, Italy

Sguardi da nord/Northern Lights. Reflecting with Images
Kurator: Filippo Maggia

mit Salla Tykkä, Elina Brotherus, Annika von Hausswolff, Walker & Walker, Sarah Jones, Walter Niedermayr