Wuhan Boulevard

EXHIBITION BY ALESSANDRO ZANONI
16 – 31 October 2017

2016

Wuhan Boulevard is an invitation to a journey through a city in progress where time stands still. A journey through an elevated urban railway located in the capital of Hubei province traversed by the Yangtze River: Wuhan. Consciously or unconsciously, deliberately or unthinkingly, the focus on a specific mode of transportation is of particular interest. Wuhan is indeed a major transport and logistic hub connecting key provinces in China, notably thanks to its port. Yet the usual watery landscapes that surround the city are not the focal point of this visual journey. Wuhan Boulevard is in truth one of the stops of the metro line one Zanoni has used to travel across the city. Immediately struck by this appellation, the artist chooses it while thumbing his nose at the fantasy about the Western famous boulevards, such as the Sunset Boulevard: the legendary route to fame and success in Los Angeles. But here the glamour and the density have turned into a rather unsettling and abandoned urban environment. Here we embark on a train that leads to an infinite landscape made of concrete and empty skyscrapers, an endless road towards unceasing urbanization.

Wuhan Boulevard seizes non-places, in other words transitional spaces which are supposed to be crossed. Probing into social commentary, the series reifies the notion of unqualified city. It allows us to look behind giant advertising panels, unveiling a dreamt city struggling to be completed, a city made of brand-new skycrapers that cohabit with old crumbling housing, a city built to welcome more inhabitants while excluding others. In fact Wuhan is the most populous city in Central China, but it seems its inhabitants have been discarded from these photographs. Where are the people? Only a lone wanderer here and there, or some cloths hung outside testify to the human presence. What is left of their houses then? Are they under construction or being knocked down? Zanoni’s pictures unveil an anxiety about modernization. A sense of dehumanization, of alienation, while enhancing at the same time local attempts to take over these non-places.

Zanoni does not only document what contemporary Chinese metropolises are made of today. He embraces the role of the urban flâneur by exploring the ways in which inhabitants can move or are prevented from moving across their environment. Zanoni climbs up the ground hills, cuts across rubbish mounds, wanders around forbidden construction areas, while gazing from above on the elevated railway. As an attempt to depict a city on the move populated with people on the move, these photographs reinforce the fact that paths are alternatively opened and obstructed.

In sum Wuhan Boulevard intertwines the notions of order with disorder, hope with disillusion, leftover past with uncertain future. It caught a glimpse of Chinese urban life as the train is passing by.

Marine Cabos
Art historian – Photography of China

 

ALESSANDRO ZANONI

He’s a visual designer and photographer based in Milan, Italy. After attending Fine Art School and taking courses in illustration at the European Design Institute of Milan, he began his profession as a graphic designer, first in the field of printing and publishing and subsequently in web and interaction design. A devourer of music he worked for a decade writing reviews for the influential rock magazine Jam. He recently began his approach to photography obtaining important awards at the IPA’s and Sony World Photography Awards. He have exhibited in both solo and group shows in Milan, Naples Paris and New York. A tireless metropolitan traveler, his work is focused on finding unusual and urban wastelands: the quest of human footprint in the anthropocene era captured through the lens of his sleek yet detached gaze.

ALESSANDROZANONI.COM

 

 

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Between Dreams

EXHIBITION BY SALEEM AHMED
8 – 22 October 2017

2015-2016

Between Dreams is a short story about being adrift in the middle of a mirage. A place where the surrounding environment feels familiar, yet foreign at the same time. A place where uncertainty and impermanence echo from buildings built on deceivingly gentle sand. A place where culture and labor are hand-selected and structured. A place where the idea of beauty is fabricated and imperfection is swept away, as the next dust storm approaches.

 

SALEEM AHMED

Saleem Ahmed is a photographer, writer, and educator based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has an MFA in photography from the Hartford Art School and a BA in photojournalism from Temple University. He has been involved with photographic and arts-based education projects in Bolivia from 2010-2015, and is also an occasional contributor for The Huffington Post.

SALEEM.US

 

 

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No Man’s Land

EXHIBITION BY FRANCO SORTINI
1 – 15 October 2017

2016

The no man’s land is a portion of land not occupied or claimed by several parties that leave that area not occupied due to fears or uncertainties that would result to take possession. The term was originally used to define a contested territory or a dumping ground for waste positioned between two feuds. It’s used primarily to describe, in the first world war, the area situated between two enemy trenches that neither of two fighters wanted to take for fear of being attacked by the enemy during the action, with this sense the term was coined in the English language no man’s land.

All around the big cities have been developed the new urban settlements, to welcome those who moved from the countryside. The large suburbs many times have become even larger than the city itself, while remaining outside the city center, and reduced to sleeping quarters. Most often lack the most basic social services. We live in an almost deserted city where the need for a place to live is most important than the right to have a better life. Francesco Erbani in his book “Rome: The Decline of the Public City”, he asks: “are we sure that the transformations that are taking place are necessary to meet to collective needs of Rome? or are, however, the effect of real estate strategies that give prestige and money to private and downloading charges on the public and don’t carrying a very helpful to the city?” .In fact, the suburbs have no reason to exist if within them not are provided, in addition to residences, services, commercial and management activities, offices and part of those of the public office who can no longer stay in the central areas of a city. These large suburbs, however, look very much like “no man’s land” means an area of border between the city as a place of life, exchange of social relationships, entertainment, culture and the countryside, no longer as a productive place but as a abandoned space.

 

FRANCO SORTINI

Franco Sortini (1958) is an Italian photographer. Beginning in the 1980s, under the supervision of Franco Fontana, has produced color photographs of landscape and architecture. His photographs are presented with a deadpan wit and always considering the tenuous balance between people and their surroundings. He works in series, photographing urban scenes of his native Italy and Europe. His use of color has been lauded for its capacity to express reality and the mediterranean light.

His work has featured in many galleries in Europe and his photographs are in the collections of Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, the AFOCO Archive in Cordoba, the Galleria Civica of Modena, the Department of Modern Art of University of Siena and in many private collections.

He has published several photography book and some artist’s book in limited editions. His photographs also have been published in many magazines and web magazines.

Professional photographer since 1986, he is a member of the Italian Association of Professional Photographers.

Currently he lives in Salerno (Italy).

FRANCOSORTINI.EU

 

 

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System of Absurdity

EXHIBITION BY BARRY FALK
23 September – 7 October 2017

2015

In October 2015 I visited Lithuania as part of the MAP6 Collective Photography Group, a collective project to explore the shifting concept of what defines modern Europe. In particular we wanted to visit the country that was, at the time of our visit, recognised as the “official” centre of Europe. I was interested in exploring the impact of the Soviet Occupation on the Baltic States between 1944 and 1991 and for this purpose I arranged to visit the Soviet Bunker, set just outside Nemencine in Lithuania.

I was met by the organiser, Mindaugas, who kindly agreed to took me on a tour of the bunker, a square grid covering an area of 2500 m². The bunker was originally a telecommunications centre, set up as a back-up station to keep broadcasting in the eventuality of a nuclear war. It was built between 1983 to 1985, at the height of the Cold War, and was part of the LRT: Lithuania Radio & Transmission, a back-up telecommunications centre set up by the occupying Russians. It was abandoned in 1991 when the Russians left Lithuania. The departing Russians stripped the space clear, leaving the bare concrete cells of an extensive bunker, covering a square grid of 2500 m².

The space has now been adapted into a place of theatre, a fabricated space constructed from the leftover paraphernalia of the Soviet Occupation. The rooms are set up to present a bewildering array of set tableaus set around the theme of the Soviet Union. Within these set spaces is the re-enactment: an actor, in full KGB uniform, is employed to issue out a torrent of abuse at the audience. It is a one man tour de force, a piece of absurdist theatre designed to highlight the absurdity of real events. It’s purpose is educational: colleges send students here to learn from the experience. Afterwards the actor asks the audience whether they like their freedom – the implicit message being that the absurdities and horrors of the past need to be remembered so as not to be repeated.

This is a staged reality, a created fiction to highlight the absurdity of real events. The effect is eery: the uncanny reality of the Soviet regime enhanced by the subterranean and claustrophobic environment. These intricately set pieces occupy an interstice between the abandoned and the occupied, the past and the present, fiction and reality, fear and trauma. When the performance begins it adds another level of remembering, reinforcing both the absurdity and reality of past events. My interest is in the bunker as a psychological space: a place where a fragile sense of safety is held together by fear. Although this bunker no longer carries out it’s original function it remains a place of terror and represents an ever present and on-going preoccupation with human instability and imminent destruction.

 

BARRY FALK

Barry Falk (b. 1964) is an artist photographer documenting urban spaces and peripheral landscapes, areas that have undergone a process of displacement and loss. His focus is upon revealing certain disturbed states of mind which are buried in both the urban and rural landscape. He is particularly interested in the edges of the city where the built up areas merge with the rural landscape. As a photographer his meanderings have taken him from sprawling derelict sites to unclaimed brownfield areas, the land of scrapyards, temporary dwellings, quarries and derelict industry, where abandon accumulates and homes are makeshift. More recently he has concentrated on locations further afield, particularly Poland and the Baltic countries, to explore how these places hold a sense of memory and collective loss. His current project focuses upon the Jewish narrative in Poland from the turn of the Twentieth Century to the present day. His main interest is to explore how trauma effects individuals and communities and how memory is held through generations but can also be buried by collective amnesia.

BARRYFALK.COM

 

 

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So Far Away, Yet So Close

EXHIBITION BY BAPTISTE DE VILLE D’AVRAY
15 – 30 September 2017

Morocco 2009 – 2016

The project “So Far Away, Yet So Close” brings together 7 years of exploration on a real territory, during a boom in urban development – a place that is resolutely contemporary and yet photographed in a timeless manner.

Baptiste de Ville d’Avray originally approached Morocco during regular short visits.

He was soon attracted by its unique Atlantic atmosphere and its coastline spanning thousands of kilometres, between the Algerian and Mauritanian borders. This country became a character in its own right within Baptiste de Ville d’Avray’s world. He was to revisit and chisel away at this material, honing a land that springs from his imagination. He thus transforms slices of life and atmospheres into stories with his camera. The lighting is always soft. The characters are like silent actors, appearing to perform in a set invented by and for the photographer.

In 2009, he began the series “Mediterrannea Saidia”, focusing on the “Plan Azur” project, with the scheduled creation of six seaside resorts. This series features the concrete sprawl over the coastline, through architecture and landscapes whose residents appear lost. Shortly after the events that shook the Arab countries, he continued his work on the coast with the series “Witnesses on the Horizon” [A L’horizon les Témoins]. These photographs capture a latent expectation in the air, at once calm yet full of tension, which can be found in many Mediterranean countries. Facing the sea, the witnesses wander. They pause, impassive. With their eyes turned to the future, they seem to deny themselves the right to dream.

In 2012, he moved to Morocco and began a contemplative photographic fiction compiled over the course of his travels and encounters, with “So Far Away, Yet So Close” [L’apparition d’Un Lointain si Proche]. This was the starting point for playing on the fringes of his practice, by moving away from a more documentary and serial approach. In each photo, time appears to slow down, with each of the titles reconstituting the pieces of a puzzle to form a fable.

He later embarked on a nomadic photography project “The Coast, Another Border” [Le Littoral, Une Autre Frontière], which follows the Moroccan side of the Mediterranean bypass that was never completed, originally intended to link up two countries, Algeria and Morocco. In a cinematographic style, the author reveals the radical transformations of the landscape.

Living between two continents, and flying many times over the Atlantic, he began Postcard from Morocco in 2016: a kind of visual and imaginary correspondence. In this series, he presents suspended moments devoid of exoticism.

 

BAPTISTE DE VILLE D’AVRAY

Baptiste de Ville d’Avray’s photography is orientated towards a cinematographic, latent and contemplative vision of the landscape and portraiture. Since 2009, he has been working on a project based on the transformations of Mediterranean landscapes, particularly in Morocco. His images seek to construct mini photographic fictions based on a real territory that becomes a character in its own right and on anodyne moments from daily life, by flirting with the boundaries of documentary photography and poetry. They express the contradiction between a perpetual movement and the immobility of bodies, thus presenting an X-ray view of the inner workings of a country and its inhabitants.

BAPTISTE-DVA.FR

 

 

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Urbanesque

EXHIBITION BY ÁKOS MAJOR
8 – 22 September 2017

2013 – 2014

 

ÁKOS MAJOR

Ákos Major (b.1974, Hungary) graduated in 2001 from Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design (MOME) in Budapest, Hungary with a degree of Visual Communications. He is shooting 120 and 4×5″ color negatives.

AKOSMAJOR.COM

 

 

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1KM

EXHIBITION BY MARINA CANEVE
1 — 15 September 2017

2012 — ongoing

By numbers
1 linear km long
10 floors
6,000 people hosted

On présente parfois La Caravelle comme «la plus grande barre de France».

The banlieues represent the urban areas created at the outskirts of major French cities in the fifties and sixties. To cope with the severe housing shortage after WWII, and to counter the informal shantytown settlements (bidonvilles) that had grown in response to this the French governments instigated the construction of large-scale housing projects, whose forms owed much to modernist architecture as espoused by Le Corbusier and CIAM: the “Grands Ensembles”.

These building complexes stand for their oversized urbanism and their rough and poetic appearance; they often represent a sort of cultural and social failure. In this context ʽLa Caravelle’ remains a significative case study because it represents, unlike most of the others, a place where the grand ensemble tends to blend the metròpolis, Paris. This status has been generated by an intervention of urban re-modelage which produced as a result a sort of désenclavement (breaking the isolation of the community).

Working on this site does not only mean dealing with the fascinating power of the magnificent grand ensembles, but above all focusing on the relationship between them and the rest of the city. The ideas of enclavement and désenclavement recur constantly juxtaposing the ideas of opening and closing. It recurs both from a physical and a metaphorical point of view. Re-thinking the grand ensembles populating the Parisian banlieue is extremely significant against the ghettoisation, depersonalization and the social exclusion which are typical of these urban districts.

About la Caravelle: La Caravelle is a housing complex consisting of 1-kilometer-long plan. The complex was built during “The Glorious Thirty” as a refuge for the myriad of people that was at that time looking for a place to live in France. In that period this building was considered an admirable plastic work designed by Jean Dubuisson. At the beginning of the XXI century something started to go wrong. In contrast with the ideals of equality and dignity characteristic of the Modern Movement, criminal activities brought the area to a bigger and bigger state of degradation. The building has become an enclave averse to rest of the city, especially the mother-city, Paris.

In the 20ies La Caravelle was among the six Grand Paris’ districts most criminogenic in France.

The French government together the Atelier Castro from 1995 till 2003 realised a re-modelage of the area. Through punctual demolitions they created a new viability restoring the complex’s connection with the larger city. With the construction of smaller appendix and new buildings they attempted to reintegrate La Caravelle into the larger plan of the Grand Paris.

“On complique un système trop simple”
(Roland Castro)

 

MARINA CANEVE

Marina Caneve (1988) is a visual artist based in Italy and The Netherlands.

Facing to the inevitable – that means changes that are so prominent that people can only adapt their lives – her intention is to reconstruct things that seems too big and complex to be depicted. Her artistic research combined with a strong planning attitude aims to the construction of a mosaic of reality and result in the use of several forms of expression, ranging from fine art photography, production of books and video installations.

Caneve’s work has been exhibited internationally at institutions such as La Biennale di Venezia (Venice), ALT.+1000 (Switzerland), Fondazione Benetton (Treviso), Savignano Immagini Festival (Savignano sul Rubicone), Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa (Venice), Centquatre (Paris). She is co-founder of CALAMITA/Á an interdisciplinary platform focusing on the geopolitical and especially the Vajont catastrophe.

MARINACANEVE.COM

 

 

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Solitary Flight

EXHIBITION BY OLE ERIK LØVOLD
23 August – 7 September 2017

2013 – 2014

This project came about at a time in my life when I felt torn between two countries, as my time studying abroad was coming to an end. Place and identity are intricately intertwined and this conflict unsettled me: I felt like I belonged nowhere. As a way of reconciliation, I wanted to make pictures of the places which held significance to me, both as a child and an adult, in both countries.

I found great pleasure in the act of photographing and carefully observing these places. To move around in the landscape, consciously and affectionately seeing it, felt like an act of love, a way of making myself at home. I am still taking these pictures today, years later: living in a new house, in a different place, but still at home.

 

OLE ERIK LØVOLD

Ole Erik Løvold (b. 1992) is a photographer and writer living in Oslo, Norway. He has a BA in photography from Middlesex University (London, UK) and recently selfpublished the photobook «Take Care» (2016), a collection of photos and autobiographical texts from his first two years in Oslo.

OLELOV.COM

 

 

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Postcards from Paradise

EXHIBITION BY SINZIANA VELICESCU
16 – 31 August 2017

2015

Postcards from Paradise explores traces of the American Dream along a highway in central California where gold mines were once prevalent in the 1800s. Once a major destination for idealists and dreamers, Owens Valley lies forgotten and empty. Now partially desolate towns were once given optimistic names such as Independence and Paradise, promising fortune for those who risked everything to pursue bigger dreams made tangible by the California gold rush. The reality, however, is that few settlers achieved any success from their endeavors, leaving empty handed with as much haste as they came in with.

Today, little evidence is left of the Gold Rush Era, yet hints of a steady economic downfall permeates throughout the valley. My photographs attempt to bring out the various manifestations of this region, in a direct representation of old and new. Most importantly, the series calls attention to the carelessness with which Americans settled and subsequently gave up on the West, leaving behind a footprint on the landscape and ultimately exposing the myth of the American Dream.

 

SINZIANA VELICESCU

Sinziana Velicescu is a photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, California. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Film. Her photography explores human intervention with nature in landscapes that have undergone political, social, or environmental change. Selections from her award winning series, On The Periphery, have been shown in galleries internationally in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Melbourne, Tokyo, and Rome. Most recently, Photo Boite named her one of the 30 Female photographers under 30 to watch in 2016.

SINZIANAVELICESCU.COM

 

 

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In the Flat Field

EXHIBITION BY REINIER TREUR
8 – 22 August 2017

2015

The Netherlands and Belgium are jointly referred to as the Low Countries, the low lying delta of the Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers, that all flow into the North Sea. The two countries have a lot in common – language, arts and culture, food, the flat landscape – and in fact historically were one nation for several periods of time, before eventually the Belgians separated from The Netherlands in 1830.

There are, however, also significant differences between the two states. In the southern part of the Low Countries Catholicism is the main religion, but the northern part is predominantly Protestant, which – at least partly – explains the different national characters of both countries. Or is it the other way around? However, in the Calvinistic north, people generally are strict, surly and thrifty, whereas the southern inhabitants show more joie de vivre and tend to take life a bit less seriously.

This schism is also reflected in the landscape and the way that is arranged. Long straight roads, short mowed lawns and rows of identical terrace houses in the north. Orderly and neat. Well maintained. Densely populated as The Netherlands are, there are only few abandoned and derelict buildings. Land is precious, and will be re-used soon after the previous user ends its activities. Old and obsolete infrastructure is demolished and immediately replaced by new facilities. For economic reasons but also because the Dutch like their environment to be orderly.

In the south we find messy terrains, overgrown plots of land, haphazardly located houses that sometimes look like follies. The Belgians are more individualistic, and therefore want to build their house according to their own taste and wishes, not restricted by rules and regulations. They don’t mind if a piece of land remains unused and is overgrown by weeds. Or when an abandoned factory slowly falls into pieces. They don’t care that their living environment is a bit untidy, as long as they can drink a beer and eat their chips or shrimp croquettes. Live and let live, and mind your own business.

In the eyes of the Belgians (and no doubt many others), the landscape in The Netherlands is flat, clean and boring. To the Dutch (and probably other North Europeans as well), Belgium seems a messy country, with ugly buildings and dirty industries.

It is the beauty of this boringness and ugliness that I want to depict in the series In the Flat Field, which derives its name from the song and album by the English post-punk band Bauhaus. “I do get bored, I get bored, in the flat field” the lyrics go. I’m bored and fascinated at the same time by the landscapes of the Low Countries.

 

REINIER TREUR

Reinier Treur (b. 1961) is a photographer and editor based in the north of The Netherlands. He holds a master degree in Dutch literature and had a career in pr & communications, before he switched to fine art landscape and documentary photography. As a photographer he is mainly self taught. He uses medium format (and sometimes 35mm) analog cameras and color negative film.

He is interested in the relation between mankind and the altered or changing landscape, with a particular curiosity for traces in the landscape that unveil human interventions from the past. He likes empty, dilapidated, gloomy and messy locations as much as excessively orderly and overly neat places.

His work shows the beauty of what most people regard as boring and ugly landscapes.

TREUR.ORG

 

 

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