A curated international photography exhibition
April 8 – May 1, 2021 newsletter
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Silence is always conceived against its opposites; sound, noise, loudness. Silence is strongly associated with loneliness and alienation, the unknown and disturbing landscape on the one hand, and the known tranquillity and peace on the other hand. Photographically, the contrast between deep darkness and dazzling light is also decisive. After natural or social catastrophes, everything falls silent; empty cities, villages, abandoned public transport and empty workplaces remind us for the transience and fragility of humankind. Silence is accompanied by quiet activities such as contemplation and meditation, which negate the very nature of action itself. Silence is also often present in still lifes, cityscapes, portraits, and many other photographic genres.
Angela Lucari: A pair of chairs No. 2 - Silent waiting
Satoko Nishioka: Reflect the sky
Gregor Radonjič: Passing into metascape
Allan Syphers: Secrets
Mildred Alpern (New York, NY, USA), Stephen Anderson (Santa Ana, CA, USA), Marc Apers (Kontich, Belgium), Egor Beketov (Písek, Czech Republic), Marco Bordignon (Accra, Ghana), Preston Buchtel (Cleveland, OH, USA), Thierry Camus (Paris, France), Tommaso Carrara (London, UK), Jenny Chernansky (New Orleans, LA, USA), Tina Cosmai (Genoa, Italy), Mingyi Cui (London, UK), Dorie Dahlberg (Long Branch, NJ, USA), Brendan Delaney (London, UK), Paul Delpani (Vienna, Austria), Mieke Douglas (London, UK), Christopher Fluder (New York, NY, USA), Daniel Franc (Prague, Czech Republic), Sari Fried-Fiori, Ellen Friedlander (Los Angeles, CA, USA), László Gálos (Salgótarján, Hungary), Rheana Gardner (Cedar City, UT, USA), Lara Gilks (Wellington, New Zealand), Morten Gjerde (Notodden, Norway), Suzanne Gonsalez-Smith (Grand Forks, ND, USA), Carola Graziani (Rome, Italy), Dave Hanson (Wellington, UT, USA), Derek Hayes (Farmington, ME, USA), Eileen Hohmuth-Lemonick (Princeton, NJ, USA), Juliana Jacyntho (São Paulo, Brazil), Hunter Johnson (Palm Springs, CA, USA), Yvon Jolivet (Rimouski, Quebec, Canada), Gary Justis (Bloomington, IL, USA), Elizabeth Kayl (Loveland, CO, USA), John Kosmer (Fly Creek, NY, USA), Inbal Kristin (Ashkelon, Isreal), Jeff Larason (Boston, MA, USA), Joe LeGrand (St Petersburg, F, USA), Boya Lei (Xi’an, China), Mihály Lex (Solymár, Hungary), Angela Lucari (Rome, Italy), Katarzyna Łukasiewicz (Warsaw, Poland), Joanna Madloch (Montclair, NJ, USA), Laura Malaterra (Genoa, Italy), Cynthia Morgan (Atlanta, GA, USA), Sabine Nagel (Potsdam, Germany), Fern L. Nesson (Cambridge, MA, USA), Ninette Niemeyer (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany), Satoko Nishioka (Tokyo, Japan), Franziska Ostermann (Kiel, Germany), Khanjan Purohit (Mumbai, India), Gregor Radonjič (Maribor, Slovenia), Russ Rowland (New York, NY, USA), Marian Rubin (Montclair, NJ, USA), Anatoly Rudakov (Berlin, Germany), Robindeep Singh (Winston-Salem, NC, USA), Julia Solis (Detroit, MI, USA), William Mark Sommer (Sacramento, CA, USA), Allan Syphers (Gwynedd Valley, PA, USA), Bogusława Trela (Tarnobrzeg, Poland), Ilya Trofimenko (Dresden, Germany), Tibor Varga (Pribeta, Slovakia), Eiji Yamamoto (Saarbruecken, Germany), Jagoda Zwiernik (Żagan, Poland)
Please click on the names to see contact information (website or e-mail) where available.
We experience silence mostly as a deficiency. As a lack of sounds, speech, or noise, we connect it primarily to auditory knowledge of the world. Another aspect of the nature of silence is manifested in music, which is a form of creation: silence and sound together create melody. The creative nature of silence as absence in our personal experience proves that it manifests itself not only in time but also in space. The silence of vacated spaces, abandoned landscapes, and sculpture-like human figures or objects confronts us with the transience of our own existence. It is little surprise, then, that the study of the dual nature of silence is central to the work of existentialist philosophers, including Martin Heidegger, whose Being and Time offers an important means of reflection on our transience.
The curator’s choice is Angela Lucari’s A pair of chairs No. 2 – Silent waiting, which shows the temporal and spatial appearance of silence together to the viewer. The texture of the wall behind the symmetrically placed chairs creates a dynamic composition: we can almost visualise the people who used the space and who have left their mark on the wall and the furniture. The tones of the photograph and the light-shadow effect make the work timeless. Our uncertainty is compounded by the fact that we do not know what time of the day or what season it is. In fact, looking at the photograph, we are placed out of space and time; this provides an opportunity to fill the space with our own memories, desires, feelings.
In the photograph entitled Reflect the sky by Satoko Nishioka, there is a small boat on a quiet river. The perspective from above makes the observer uncertain, as the sky as a point of reference appears only indirectly, in a reflected way. The fisherman appears in all cultures as a motif of wisdom; thus, the photograph has significant metaphysical implications.
One of the honourable mentions of the exhibition is Passing into metascape by Gregor Radonjič. The use of space in the image fits into a very rich tradition of fine art, showing the effect of Nicolas Poussin’s geometrically composed paintings, where the arrangement of the space and the narrative of an action (usually sacred or mythological in nature) mutually reinforce one another. Compared to Poussin, it is an unknown but secularised narrative in which both the figure in the picture and the observer are doomed to loneliness.
Allan Syphers’ photograph entitled Secrets also relies on reflection, but this time we do not see a natural phenomenon but a doll in an empty room and her reflective image. The composition is both open and closed, with a strong diagonal element emphasising the ontological duality of the doll. As the photographer himself explains in his statement: “The dialogue between fashion, vanity and self-image, seemed to embody the contradiction between our societal obsession with outward appearances and the secrets we keep that define our truth in the mirror.”
The works presented in the exhibition in various photographic genres reflect on the stillness, meditation and sometimes heavy grey silence that appear in our lives. The global pandemic of 2020-2021 necessarily emphasises our personal encounter with silence; the forced reflection on our own existence in everyday life is keenly felt. The importance of the boundary situations of human existence is brought to our attention by neo-existentialist thinker Karl Jaspers. In the mass existence tied to modern industrial societies, the experience of the individual dissolves; the boundary situations face the limitations of individual existence. This experience is global today; therefore a common pattern emerges from the photographic works, creating a unity in expression from different parts of the world. These common motifs also appear in the exhibition ‘Silence’. We can see empty bars and restaurants in the photographs of Tomasso Carrara, Dorie Dahlberg, Brendan Deleney, Mieke Douglas, Christopher Fluder and Russ Rowland. Lonely landscapes are presented by Gregor Radonjič, Egor Beketov, Marco Bordignon, Paul Delpani, László Gálos, Carola Graziani, Dave Hanson, Hunter Johnson, Yvon Jolivet, John Kosmer, Inbal Kristin, Laura Malaterra, Sabine Nagel, Satoko Nishioka, Marian Rubin, Anatoly Rudakov and Boguslawa Trela. Photographs by Mildred Alpern, Marc Apers, Thierry Camus, Derek Haynes, Eileen Hohmuth-Lemonick, Elizabeth Kayl, Boya Lei, Eiji Yamamoto are characterised by the artistic use of refined ordinary objects as abstract entities.
Silence may also appear in the depiction of the human body, in interiors and landscapes, in the representation of figural or abstract entities. From time to time, silence is a defining component of our lives that invites us to reflect on ourselves – and in the case of this exhibition, this happens through the artistic means of photography.