Carpethian – Felicia Hodoroabă-Simion

Бартcелона Gallery

24th April – 6th April 2017.

Felicia Simion’s photography installation Carpethian raises concerns about the preservation of tradition in modern society by revealing current ways in which traditional carpets are being utilized in her homeland Romania. The exhibition fosters a personal focus on the carpets owned by Simion’s relatives who live in the rural villages of Oltenia. In engaging with a community not yet swallowed by the full-fledged contemporaneity found in urban environments glimpses of bygone relics and past customs can be found and nurtured amongst a remote village setting. However nothing seems completely out of reach for modernity’s tinkering hand and it is the forms in which these customs have inevitably changed that continues Simion’s ongoing investigation into the evolution of tradition. Since the earliest carpets were hand woven in Armenia and Persia they have been attributed with many roles, whether practical or symbolical. From serving as thermal insulation for nomadic tribes’ tents, being adopted as a place of worship and prayer, to becoming a status symbol of wealth and prestige, or purely serving as beautiful decorative objects. With its diverse use and purpose the carpet has always been a part of the daily cultural life of communities in many nations. These days the carpet has been reduced to decoration and is a common staple in home décor stores. Made en masse in factories by machines, the personal human touch is void in the production of modern rugs and the craftsmanship and knowledge of their creation becoming a thing of the past. To own a hand-woven carpet has become a fetishised commodity in modern Western civilizations and problematic in that the owners are unaware of the objects rich history and place in culture. Specific to Romania, Oltenian carpets commonly bore a floral design and were gifted as a dowry for marriages. These carpets bore symbolic significance and would represent the social status of a family, with some carpets specifically customised for certain families that would incorporate patterns and motifs that could represent their amount of wealth, field of work, and history within the design. It was a privilege to own such an object and due to the carpets prestige people would display them in specific areas of the house, often on walls to exhibit their abundance, or immortalise their image with the carpets by standing for their portrait in front of them. Taken in the rural villages of Plenița, Ciocănești and Novaci, Simion documents the history of her own relatives’ carpets by appropriating the aforementioned style of photography popular in Romania one century ago. Staging her subjects in front of the carpets they’ve kept in their homes, she creates a visual juxtaposition between their casual modern attire and the old fashioned style of their rugs. Adversely she inverts this contrast in her self-portrait in which she is presented wearing a traditional Oltenian costume yet pictured in front of a carpet bought by her parents only years ago in a modern furniture store. The carpets featured in her families’ portraits were mainly bought to indulge the beginning of something new, from moving into a new apartment, to marking the demise of communism, or a purchase for a persons wedding, perhaps a hangover from the days of marriage dowries. Reasons for possessing such carpets have shifted into the realm of commodity and the rugs of her family have gradually veered from a traditional Romanian style to that of less precious Turkish and Oriental reproductions.
While Simion’s portraits provide an insight into the contemporary homes of rural Romania and their nostalgia with its rich and colourful past, her enquiry poses a much broader question about the place of tradition in the 21 st century. In discontinuing the handmade production and purchase of domestic Romanian carpets what could be at stake of being lost for the cultures history? In an age where their value is displayed on the opposing binaries of ‘the souvenir shop’ and ‘the heritage museum’ both catering heavily to tourism, how will traditions like these carpets be remembered by Romanian locals as they continue to warp and shift their meaning into a state of commodification. When confronted with Simion’s photographs, bound up in memory with their beauty and personal integrity, I’m left pondering mostly whether this commodification is a cultures move towards progress or alternately a mistake in abandoning its past.

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Seascapes – Martin Breindl and Wolfang Muller

Gallery Pro3or

24th April – 2nd May 2017

Wolfgang Müllner’s photographs are marine panoramas of a kind familiar from vacation shots. The horizon divides the picture right down the middle. Müllner then takes the color information “inscribed in” a given picture and calculates the average tonal values of sea and sky, respectively. He uses these two values to “overwrite” the image with monochrome fields, pushing the original motif back to the edges of the picture so that it serves as a mere “passe-partout,” a matte for a new form that renders an interpretation of the same segment of reality.

Martin Breindl’s graphic cycle Die Sehnsucht nach dem Meer (konkrete Version) translates the “longing for the sea” into a literal “description” of identical motifs. An imaginary horizon line splits the superimposed words HIMMEL und MEER, or SKY and SEA, in two and reconstructs them. Step by step, Breindl lends concrete substance to the composition by applying the same method to different manifestations and a spectral perception of the motif, almost incidentally revealing it to be a mirror image. Müllner’s and Breindl’s works are at heart essays in writing. The dialogue between the pictures playfully dismantles the distinction between “photography” and “graphic art.” What Müllner conceives of as the multiplicity of seascapes is to Breindl’s mind an instance of linguistic variety. Both perspectives are systematic and formulaic, suggesting the ways in which industrial standards and specifications inform our increasingly “automated” perception of the world around us.

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Waiting – Aleksandra Lekovic

Gallery RTS

20th April – 2nd May 2017

The photographs from the Belgrade’s homeless shelter capture the time and the space in which  the beneficiaries of different ages, psychical and physical conditions, are waiting for something. They are waiting to be put in a nursing home, waiting for the lunch time, coffee, a cigarette…waiting to go farther away. There’s no life course as we usually know it, because these people are not part of the system. Like some kind of visions, they float in the  space of the photographies, indifferent to /not aware of the beholding eye of the camera which confirms their absence from the value system that surrounds them.

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Following the Light – Photo Assocation of Serbia

Gallery 73

20st April – 2nd April 2017.

FOLLOWING THE LIGHT is the Photo Association of Serbia’s traditional exhibition of awarded photographs in the previous year. The formal opening of this eleventh consecutive exhibition is scheduled for Thursday, 20 April, at 7 p.m. at Galerija ’73 (Požeška 83a, Banovo Brdo). The exhibition will remain open until 2 May 2017.

Belgrade Photo Month, Galerija ’73 and the Photo Association of Serbia will continue their successful cooperation by organizing a springtime, traditional FOLLOWING THE LIGHT photography  exhibition. FOLLOWING THE LIGHT is the Serbian Photo Association’s presentation of the best achievement of its foremost authors, an annual review of amateur photography aimed toward the affirmation of photography and its authors. The exhibits comprise all the photographs that have received awards in the course of 2016 at leading exhibitions in the country and abroad. On this occasion, the digital collection of PAS contemporary photographs has been expanded to include the new works of some 50 authors.

FOLLOWING THE LIGHT can safely be qualified as the exhibition of exhibitions in Serbia. It is a presentation of the best photographs of Serbian authors who have won gold, silver, and bronze
prizes at renowned first class competitions at home and at international competitions abroad,
primarily those under the patronage of FIAP (Fédération Internationale de Art Photographique). This year’s catalogue, as in former years, will have a list of works and will feature a reproduction of each of the exhibited authors. The exhibition at Galerija ’73 will also display one work of each author, with the aim of presenting to the public the current achievement of PAS members. The exhibited photographs are of high quality and fittingly arranged for the exhibition, in keeping with the practice of former years of presenting in the springtime term at Galerija ’73 the award-winning works of members of the Photo Association of Serbia.

FOLLOWING THE LIGHT have been held since 2007, with this year’s as the eleventh consecutive
exhibition.

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