Women, Shape and Soul

 

   SR Contemporary Art Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of the group exhibition Women Shape and Soul featuring four gallery artists: Vera Lehndorff & Holger Trülzch Franco Fontana, Luzia Simons, Barbara La Ragione

The Women Shape and Soul curated by Sabrina Raffaghello will run from July 7th, 2018 to September 4th , 2018 with an opening reception Saturday July 7th from 6 pm to 8,30 pm 

This special exhibition, running for the Berlin Fashion Week, sets out to put women in contemporary art and raises the fundamental question of how visual Art deals with Fashion. 

Full of glamour, theatricality, escapism, but also with innovation and issues confronting our time, the  exhibition present the archetype of women in fashion, design and in art.

“Femininity” is a social construction that has been defined and redefined by ideological discourses over time and from culture to culture. The artists present their own perspective on femininity, going beyond pre-established archetypes, challenging imposed generalizations, and emphasizing elements of feminine identity and empowerment rooted in both history and the female anatomy.

Within every woman, there is a queen who possesses the most idealized qualities of contemporary womanhood: strength, beauty, leadership, grace, authority and fear. The photography investigates how storytelling artists understands this duality better than and symbols capture the imagination of most.

Franco Fontana  

Looking at his images and at the sensitivity inherent in his work, we can speak of Zen photography. In fact, with his minimalist photographs, Fontana has touched the abstract world and the purity contained today in a few contemporary images. His Fashion photographies tell a story in which women are a sort of paradigma.  By removing all that was superfluous he managed to give added value to his landscapes. Yes, we talk about “his” landscapes as the photographer has succeeded, through his eyes, to create his own unique and unmistakable style. The contrasts given by light, the bright colors of southern Italy and the shadows in the right places, have given life to the essentiality of its landscapes. The camera and the photographer himself are an inseparable unit and thanks to this, Franco has managed to achieve perfection in his work. A perfection that the same landscape has helped to create. It is enough to read the photographer’s thought to reach the same dimension that led him to immortalise landscapes that speak of symmetry, sign and purity. Franco Fontana is an Italian Master Photographer who succeed in making visible the invisible.

Luzia Simons 

Themes of “absence and abundance, entropy and energy” run like a narrative thread through the otherwise disparate objects in the show. Women, for Luzia, become ‘Icons of Absence’ as her works play on both the concepts of presence and absence. Her particular expression and her photography language merges landscape and figurative elements into one evocative dialogue. This work contains a number of features characteristic of the art of Luzia Simons: Memories of early silent films with their typical, underdeveloped approach to the handling of light, with which only a segment of any given scene could be illuminated, and the dramatic contrasting of light and shadow to create the effect of bodies growing forth from shadow into the light. Luzia Simons makes deliberate use of a device reminiscent of the pin-hole camera, a photographic technique whose origins lie in the archeological realm of the early years of photography, purposefully exploiting its particular conceptual and aesthetic qualities. The “surrealistic” medium of photography already fragments reality par excellence. The pin-hole camera technique heightens the effect by focusing the view and the light on a single detail. Body parts but also plants and fruits are enveloped in Carravagesque darkness only to be brought dramatically to the fore by light. Luzia Simons establishes links in her photographs between the forms of plants and fruits and those of the human body. The ripe skin of the fruits stretches over its flesh – and such revealing, suggestive language is also characteristic of Luzia Simon’s deliberately fashioned analogies to the human body. Regardless of the object upon which it is fixed, this photographer’s gaze is always conditioned by the desire to take erotic possession of the world.

Barbara La Ragione

The artistic research of Barbara La Ragione starts with black and white analog photography adopted to compose a series of portrait which express the ‘hic et nunc’. The artist constructs truly complex ‘mise-en-scène’ in which every subject, or object, becomes an inanimate mask. Thus, the mask is a fundamental and recurrent element, that gives life to fetish bodies, which are brought to life through the photographic shot and the light’s alchemy created by the photographic process – the ultimate procedure within the whole creative process of the artist. Through photography, the subject obtains an identity that is clearly and perfectly represented through the mask establishing a game of interconnectedness between reality and fictitiousness, truthiness and manipulation, pureness and artificialness. Her works are open to the reader and the observer, underlining the ‘staging’ within a perfect and beautiful world and the life it holds. The eyes of her subjects, visible through the mask, are another important element of this fictional and real world, emphasizing a sense of memory that we can all relate to. As the artist explains: “The eyes are expression of the soul. They wonder in oblivion for those who observe them…photography is about eyes…it rests its look upon anything immobile. Unexperienced life presence, without tongues, fill the guise of the observer, telling us numerous things”.

Vera Lehndorff & Holger Trülzsch

The artist duo Vera Lehndorff & Holger Trülzsch created a rich and compact oeuvre in the ’70s and ’80s. Before they met, Lehndorff had a career as Veruschka, the celebrated supermodel of the ’60s, declared by photographer Richard Avedon to be “the most beautiful woman in the world,” while Trülzsch explored the territory of art, music, and politics as one of the leading figures of the student movement in Munich in the ’60s. The idea about body painting come about by casual experimenting. Initially they didn’t intend to paint the body. They bought dresses, make up and other things for a project intended at imitation of famous movie icons. However painting the dresses on the skin seemed like stronger way of mixing media. The central point of the project was the fact that Vera was an icon herself. Her being an icon and understanding how the media functions in creating personalities. Thus, the icon Veruschka is always shining through the imitated figures. This turned out to be something very strong, causing scandals in the ’70s. But the media structure of the capitalist society, can easily and smoothly reintegrate everything, even a strong social critique. Instead of being rejected it became a success.