A curated international photography exhibition
June 1–24, 2023 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 life, cityscapes, portraits, and many other photographic genres.
Inbal Kristin: Untitled
Eva Brunner: Pilatus #07
Iveta Lazdina: Three
Igal Stulbach: Woman
Shelley Arini (New York, NY, USA), Juliana Arruda (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Lee Atwell (Nashville, IN, USA), Diána Barcsi (Budapest, Hungary), Paola Francesca Barone (Naples, Italy), Yvan Bedard (Neuville, QC, Canada), Jean- Claude Bise (Neuchâtel, Switzerland), Susan Borowitz (West Harrison, NY, USA), Tamás Richard Borza (Oradea, Romania), Eva Brunner (Berlin, Germany), Massimiliano Cambuli (Brussels, Belgium), Thierry Camus (Paris, France), Jessica Chen (San Francisco, CA, USA), Hsien-Chih Chuang (Taiwan), Hsuan Chung (Norcross, GA, USA), Angela Crosti (London, UK), Dorie Dahlberg (Long Branch, NJ, USA), Jennifer Eddins (Mt Airy, MD, USA), Sari Fried-Fiori (Katy, TX, USA), László Gálos (Capelle aan den Ijssel, Netherlands), Macarena Garrido Pavez (Santiago, Chile), Frank Geiser (Matteson, IL, USA), Lara Gilks (Wellington, New Zealand), Ravin Goyal (Los Angeles, CA, USA), Pato Hebert (New York, NY, USA), László Hegedűs 2 (Csákberény, Hungary), Leena Holmström (Oulu, Finland), Margrieta Jeltema (Bolsena, Italy), Andrei Kamkov (Moscow, Russia), Inbal Kristin (Ashkelon, Israel), Tom Laurence (Urbana, IL, USA), Iveta Lazdina (Sigulda, Latvia), Paul Lipscombe (Bournemouth, UK), Elio Lo Bascio (Trento, Italy), Richard Luxton (Bristol, UK), Leba Marquez (North Hollywood, CA, USA), Dan McCormack (Accord, NY, USA), Debbie McCulliss (Greenwood Village, CO, USA), Zsuzsanna Megyesi (Budapest, Hungary), Maria Mikirtumova (Tartu, Estonia), Jose Ney Mila Espinosa (Kissimmee, FL, USA), Robert Morrissey (Portland, OR, USA), Fern L. Nesson (Cambridge, MA, USA), John Potter (Dubuque, IA, USA), Melinda Reyes (Bridgewater, MA, USA), Susan Reyman (Chicago, IL, USA), Karen Safer (Playa del Rey, CA, USA), Ilaria Sagaria (Milan, Italy), Heather Schmaedeke (Berlin, Germany), Dina Sirat (Netanya, Israel), StreetMax21 (London, UK), Igal Stulbach (Bat Yam, Israel), Tomo Tany (Tokyo, Japan), Tamás Varga (Budapest, Hungary), Galin Vasilev (Burgas, Bulgaria), Leanne Wiggers (London, UK), Ingrid-Nathalie Wizun (Montreuil sous Bois, France), Eiji Yamamoto (Saarbruecken, Germany)
Please click on the names to see contact information (website or e-mail) where available.
Opening remarks by Emmanuelle Becker
I would like to begin by noting the importance of silence in an overall way.
> Silence offers respite from the constant noise and stimulation of modern life and plays a crucial role in promoting mindfulness and well-being.
> Artists often seek silence to find balance, reduce stress, and cultivate a sense of calm, which allows for the necessary conditions to create.
Be it to:
- find inspiration,
- or nurture their artistic practice.
Silence provides a space for contemplation, creative exploration, by allowing artists to delve into their inner worlds and connect with their audiences on a profound level.
In preparing my introductory talk, I singled out a few specific benefits of silence in the creative process:
1. Silence allows for Reflection and Introspection: enabling individuals to detach themselves from external distractions and connect with their inner thoughts, and emotions.
2. Silence allows for Sensory Awareness, Perspective and Contemplation: by providing mental space and freedom for ideas to emerge, thoughts to flow, and connections to form, silence stimulates creativity. In silence, our senses become more attuned to subtler details and nuances in our surroundings. Artists benefit from this heightened sensory awareness, as they observe and engage with the world.
Silence enables artists, to step back and gain a broader perspective, thusly encouraging artists to think deeply, question assumptions, and challenge conventions.
3. Silence allows for Emotional Expression: By embracing silence, artists can create works that evokes profound emotional responses in viewers. Silence allows for a deeper exploration and expression of emotions, by emphasizing the weight of certain emotions, and tension, or inversely convey a sense of serenity and tranquility.
4. Communication and Interpretation: Silence has its own language, and is a powerful tool for interpretation.
> Artists can use silence strategically to create pauses, evoke curiosity, or invite viewers to engage actively with their work. Silence also grants viewers the space to interpret and connect with art on a personal and emotional level.
> Whether through moments of stillness, a total absence of sound, or a metaphorical representation, silence provides a rich and meaningful foundation for artistic expression, as the PH21 gallery selection demonstrates.
Silence in art and photography can be a powerful concept, encompassing various aspects of expression and interpretation.
> It is an abstract and subjective notion that artists and photographers often explore to evoke emotions, create narratives, or convey messages.
In looking at the images selected for the show, I have identified some 7 different perspectives on the subject of silence in art and photography:
1. Silence is commonly associated with the absence of noise or sound. In visual arts, this is often represented through stillness and tranquility. Artists may depict serene landscapes, empty spaces, or quiet moments to convey a sense of calm and introspection.
2. Silence can be expressed through minimalistic aesthetics and simplicity. By reducing elements to their essential forms and removing distractions, artists and photographers can create a sense of silence and focus on the core subject or concept.
3. Silence can evoke various emotions and moods. In photography, capturing moments of solitude, contemplation, or introspection can communicate a feeling of silence. This may involve portraying a solitary figure in a vast landscape, using subdued lighting or muted colors to set a serene atmosphere.
4. Silence can be used as a narrative device, creating pauses and tension within a visual story. Artists may leave certain elements ambiguous or open to interpretation, inviting viewers to fill the gaps with their own narratives and meaning. By emphasizing the silence between moments or events, artists can engage the audience’s imagination.
5. Silence can serve as a symbol or metaphor in art and photography. It can represent unspoken thoughts, hidden truths, or the power of introspection. Artists may use objects or particular compositions to convey silence metaphorically, such as closed doors, sealed lips, or empty chairs.
6. Silence can be employed in art and photography as a form of social commentary. Artists may use silence to address social issues, such as oppression, censorship, or marginalized voices. By highlighting silenced individuals or depicting absence where there should be presence, artists can prompt viewers to reflect on the importance of freedom of speech, speaking out, and breaking the silence.
7. Lastly, silence can also relate to the concept of time and stillness. In long exposure photography, for example, capturing the movement of time while keeping certain elements static can create a juxtaposition of silence and motion. This technique can be used to explore the passage of time, meditation, or the transient nature of existence.
I discussed here just a few ways in which silence can be explored and represented in art and photography. The interpretation of silence is of course subjective, and artists have the freedom to experiment and convey their own unique perspectives through their creative works.