Seeing is Believing [Bombs & Ghosts]
September 26th to 30th October
Built over a collection of representations which involve the construction of truth in our contemporary societies “Seeing is Believing” throws clues about some of the most pertinent questions that are connected to a hyper-disturbing time, allowing to foresee the structural dimension of a new world.
SEEING IS BELIEVING supplies a spur for contemplation about the way in which technical image relates to reality, the authenticity of photography as a medium and the relation of the human conscience with the ingenious inventions of science. The proposed theme is in this perspective particularly rich of anthropological and sociological suggestions and challenges. The need to give visibility to the invisible, circumscribed to an idea of time, of the transition from perishable to perennial, from uncertainty to certainty, leads photography to reveal itself like a singular moment, almost sacred from the act of believing.
And, because it is not possible to establish the boundaries of seeing, this collective focuses on the authors’ visual sensations and impressions to trace a fragmentary vision of this infinite theme. The collective way of the act of SEEING which the multiple artists here reunited explore, itself representing a sign of the richness and the diversity that the different cultures engender, turn this selection into a revealing experience of the act of believing.
The sequence of ambiguous images, and sometimes ironic, with humorous hints follow the rhythms of the human conviction, ensuring the navigation by the interstice of the human fragility. The photographs simultaneously show us the belief in the power of the image, through personal pronounced visions, conflicts and criticism, which is the case of Miti Ruangkritya, and sometimes humour and fiction, as in Tiago Casanova’s installation “Is it a revolution?”.
Natasha Caruana series “Love Bombs” gives answer to the inquietude of the affective relations, teaching by magic potions how to bring back the beloved one, or how to keep it away forever, collecting countless love stories, heartbreaks, violence or even death. On the other side, the universe of imagination summoned by Christiane Peschek’s series “Invisibles”, oscillates in a wide psychological field generating a sort of drama movie script, which gives us clues for the interpretation of the images. In the same territory is Guilherme Gerais’ series “Intergalático”, which invites the viewer to enter a game/challenge of hap and disorder, in a journey that instead of taking you to the past points to the future.
Here, the search for the truth is so important as all the diverse paths of fiction. This metaphor appears pronouncedly in the figure of the meteorite hunter (“The Meteorite Hunter”) by Alexandra Lethbridge, where in a stubborn persecution, she tries to reveal the ethereal and the sublime in the earthly and trivial. In that same odyssey, Sarker Protick’s series “Love Me or Kill Me” reveals his fascination by the bizarre world of Dhallywood’s film industry, by expressing the extreme emotions of an enthusiast world of love and vengeance.
In the same fictional atmosphere is “5 p.m., Hotel de la Gloria” from the authors Eduardo Brito and Rui Hermenegildo, which is based on an Antonioni’s plan, where they convene multiple displacements and fictions, rehearsing the possible embodiments of a place created by the great illusion of cinema. On the other side, Wawrzyniec Kolbusz with his series “Sacred Defence”, creates a war simulacrum of the conflict Iran-Iraq, using fictional images and reconstructing historical events, leaving on the viewer the impression that he is really seeing the war.
With this selection we intend to provoke a disturbing and compromised reflection with the act of believing, able to arouse a new complicity between image and viewer, turning this collection into a powerful and creative register, by the exacerbation of the visible that “blinds” and simultaneously highlighting the chances to comprehend the other and itself.
ALEXANDRA LETHBRIDGE – The Metheorit Hunter
The Meteorite Hunter is an archive of a search for meteorites and the places they come from. A Meteorite Hunter is someone who commits to the art of finding space rocks in a focused pursuit. Their job entails searching for a glimpse of a translunary guest, a clue to something that tells us more about who we are and where we come from. Using the notion of the Meteorite as a metaphor for the fantastical hidden in the everyday, the body of work is a document of a hunt to locate the ethereal and sublime in the mundane and banal. The resulting archive acts as evidence to this search, documenting the accumulation of artefacts overlooked in search of the exotic. Using these ideas, the work aims to challenge our preconceptions of our surroundings and question the parallels between our own world and our imaginations.
NATASHA CARUANA – Love Bomb
Love Bomb, charts evidence of Love and Hate through a series of still lives constructed and informed by sorcery, chemistry and psychotherapy. The photographic work is a response to the breakup of a relationship and metaphorical investigation of the links between the two emotions on wider scale. Restlessly the artist documents her attempts to stay in love, searching for love potions on the Internet then making and photographing them in her studio. Interspersed amongst these attempts is the documentation of her self-destruction these are depicted through the collecting, making and documentation of bombs. Countless stories of love, heartbreak, violence and even murder appear in the media daily. Love and hate both exist within our culture and relationships, and in fact this balancing act arises from our own biological make up. Scientists studying the physical nature of hate, have observed how our brains neurons display similar activity during the feeling of romantic love and when experiencing emotions of hate. The series expands around a central metaphor; love potions and bombs, pairing point and shoot images with handwritten text detailing the ingredients of each concoction. The pages are interspersed with ominous headlines of lovers feuds and personal documents that establish the theme on both a universal and personal level.
CHRISTIANE PESCHEK – Invisibles
The way we relate to our reality: only images and imagination. I am searching for absence and imagination. In the proposed work “invisibles” I combine images that deal with physical, narrative or human absence. “Moments I’ve failed to cap¬ture” is the main motivation in this body of work. I tried to create different ways of using photography as a commemoration system in reconstructing moments of my own life. I add abstract forms to landscapes and everyday life scenes, trying to recreate stories by highlighting different spots in the image. I’m interested in the interaction of these elements and how they start to relate to each other. I use big white canvases, pro¬jection displays that ask for visibility and absence. In another experiment I deled with the transformation of the visual image in a somehow “imaginary” display. Through autobiographic texts I explore image production on mo¬ments, where I had no camera with me. With this body of work I focuse on the question of reality and imagination of the photo¬graphic image.
GUILHERME GERAIS – Intergalático
Intergalático, is to some extent a visually based literary essay. The journey is defined by a multitudinous structure: we can find collages, evidence, stories, effects, annulment, even sharpness and illustrations, rereading and small traces. These images are alternated in an order that requires immediate participation of the reader: from the beginning there is the invitation for a game, an outcome, a challenge between what is seen and what remains. The strategy, in this case, articulated spontaneously by the photographer, always points to the random, the disorder, the immediacy of an alleged previous life – something that is divided between land, space, and the virtual universe, a journey that was supposed to go towards the past, but also towards the future, a desire that is not totally revealed, but that is always there.
LONNEKE VAN DER PALEN – Souvenir: Memories of a journey never made
The series ‘Souvenir: Memories of a journey never made’ is the result of a staged journey inspired by the ultimate clichés among travel photography. The posing in stunning landscapes, sunsets, wildlife, exotic food, the indigenous population: they almost become icons. By recreating these images, photography enables me to visit distant worlds and gather souvenirs of a journey that has never been made. Why buy expensive flight tickets, when I can accomplish the same with my imagination? Using a camera, I don’t have to leave my house to experience life’s visual marvels.
WAWRZYNIEC KOLBUSZ – Sacred Defense
Sacred Defence, embedded mainly in the post-war reality of the Iraq-Iran war, is a story of producing artificial war images and reconstructing historical events to create a group memory. It not only traces the existing modes of construction of fake war narrations, it also creates a new, war-related simulacra in digitally amended satellite images of nuclear installations. Sacred Defence is a game, in which images make us believe we see the war. However We are looking at illusions. We follow how the war simulacra of social and political importance are being created within different spaces and narrations. A cinema city, constructed only for the purpose of shooting war movies, is a self-referencing space, created not to be experienced itself, but to become an image of war. Museums mimic the wartime reality in the smallest detail; with wax figures of particular martyrs allow to meet fallen heroes again; and plastic replicas of antipersonnel mines sold as souvenirs. From a play between the copy and the original, author leads us to the point where he creates new simulation. He amends satellite images of Iranian nuclear installations with mutually exclusive versions of destruction, which may be caused by a hypothetical Western strike. Buildings destroyed in some images stand intact in others, and all parallel versions of the same event are presented on a single satellite map. On the one hand, we have alternative versions of destruction, but at the same time we see a multiplication of the same strike, a repetition required, to use Milan Kundera’s view, to create real meaning in historical events. Yet in his self-referencing simulations, the author does not use past events as a basis, but instead is plotting alternatives and producing ‘proofs’ of an event that never happened despite being widely discussed in the media.
SARKER PROTICK – Love Me or Kill Me
The Bangladeshi film industry—based in Dhaka, and so known as ‘Dhallywood’—has been going since 1956. Dhallywood movies have fallen out of favor among the richer classes, who prefer foreign films. The growing influence of Bollywood (Hindi cinema) films in Bangladesh has also had an adverse impact on the local industry. Yet the Dhallywood industry produces around 100 movies a year, and does still enjoy the support of many ordinary moviegoers. ‘Love Me or Kill Me’ is the title of a Dhallywood film, one that expresses the extreme emotions that define the genre. Love and revenge are the core ingredients of our movies. The stories do not change much: boy meets girl, falls in love, bad guy takes girl away, and hero fights to get her back. There is always similar climax and a happy ending. People love it. When I was growing up in Dhaka, there was no cable TV except the national channel. Bangla film was for us the height of entertainment. Slowly, other films and TV channels took over. We didn’t think Dhallywood movies were cool anymore; they no longer played a part in my life. In the process of making photographs of Dhaka city I visited a film studio in F.D.C and was captivated by the colors, the light and the atmosphere. The events and details were odd, sometimes bizarre. The costumes are flashy, the sets and effects are cheap, and the colors are daring. There seems little contact with real life but I found it full of life.
MITI RUANGKRITYA – Thai Politics
Thai Politics is an ongoing series developed from the first major protest in Bangkok since 2006. Whilst exploring the differing political attitudes in Bangkok, the project also examines photography within an image rich world. Punctuating each addition to the series is not only a different dimension to people’s political views and behaviours, but also a different approach to how they are captured and presented. This includes curating images found across social media (Thai Politics no.2 and 4) to the more traditional approach of digital and film photography (Thai politics no.1, 3 and 5).
ALENA ZHANDAROVA – Puree with a taste of triangles
I like to try something that I didn’t do before, to expand the perception of the world. I am fascinated by the opportunity to try myself as a fabler with my own heroes, the chance to transform my inner feeling of the world into visual form, from chaos to cosmos. It attracts me as a big power, the freedom of choice and will. It’s important for me to envelop my own perception of the world to the visual form in order to be, to feel, to reside in my own life, to delight and observe the changes in my picture of the world. I’m very interested to move deeper, to go wider, to unlock the unknown and solve the equation. I explore the theme of uniqueness and diversity of each person, the connection between inner and external world. I break the conventions in which I was placed and try to create my own rules of communication with the universe. I am inspired by the idea of combining the incompatible, creating something out of nothing, amazing coincidences, which then develop into unique stories.
EDUARDO BRITO e RUI HERMENEGILDO – 5p.m. Hotel de la Gloria
On the 52nd minute of Michelangelo Antonioni’s “The Passenger” (1975), the protagonist David Locke, under David Robertson’s skin, opens a small notebook diary. In the page, a hand written schedule predicts a meeting at Osuna’s Hotel de la Gloria, next September 11th, at 5 p.m. After this close shot, the narrative drives towards the small Andalusian town, located 89 km east of Seville, concluding in the film’s legendary penultimate shot. Antonioni decide to shot the ultimate Osuna sequence in Vera (a town located in Almeria, 363 km east of Osuna). Due to this dislocation, the Andalusian town turns into an imaginary place: in the fictional layer, Osuna is represented in Vera; and in the materialization of that fiction, Vera is conceived and meant to be Osuna. Though the sequence is shot in Vera, the author maintains the Andalusian reference: the scene happens in Osuna. What if Antonioni had filmed this sequence there? And what sort of images the same camera movements would have generated in other place? 5 pm, Hotel de la Gloria is a work by Eduardo Brito and Rui Hermenegildo, set in Osuna,created after the antonionian shot. Through the photographic image, this shot is represented in its imaginary location and illusory movement in Osuna. Thus its location, as a photographic work comprising a fiction over a fiction, in the exact place where cinema places it. 5 p.m., Hotel de la Gloria is, therefore, a drift through an impossible materialization (or imagination) of a place, of a scheduled meeting, set in cinema’s great illusion.
TIAGO CASANOVA – Is it a Revolution? or just bad weather?