In Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), the two main characters go to California’s Muir Forest to see the sequoias. When they stop at a cross section of a tree trunk, the woman points to the rings and says, “Here I was born and here I died; it was only a moment for you, you took no notice.” The scene is unsettling because it shows that our own lives are not the only way to measure time. A sequoia’s lifespan can span hundreds or even thousands of years; as with cosmic and geologic time, the human spectrum is not at its center. Time can also be registered with different systems: in tree rings, rock layers, and crystal formations instead of hours or years. These natural elements appear in photographs along with dyed textiles, video, and gouache paintings in Cristina Regadas’ (Porto, 1977) installation Frame of Reference (campo contra-campo) at O Sol Aceita A Pele Para Ficar in Guimarães, Portugal.
June Crespo, Kanala, 2016. Image courtesy of MARCO Vigo/Enrique Touriño
I was riding the boat to work the other day when I saw a glowing blue form undulating on the ship’s TV screen. Two black holes collided 1.3 billion years ago, creating gravitational waves that stretch and compress space and even produce chirping sounds that scientists have finally measured, the news said. The gravitational waves illustration made me think of the ceramic forms in June Crespo’s (Pamplona, 1982) installation Kanala at the MARCO Vigo, where objects seem to float around the exhibition hall as if they were in outer space.
June Crespo, Kanala, 2016, detail; Gravitational waves illustration by European Space Agency
Sam Smith, Reflex Compositions (2013), 1:22. Image courtesy of Susana Pomba.
Sam Smith’s 1 minute 22 second film Reflex Compositions (2013) shows clips of the artist filming his own reflection in a mirror as he turns the camera on, adjusts it, steps away, and then shuts the camera off again. There is no narrative progression, only a loop of the artist turning the camera on and off in different places. It’s as if he’s doing prep work for a subsequent scene, or making a photograph instead of a film. What is the purpose of shooting film in this abbreviated way?
Reflex Compositions was created during Smith’s time as an artist in residence at the Helsinki International Artist Program on Suomenlinna Island, Finland. The island is famous for its massive fortress built by the Swedes (who controlled Finland at the time) in 1748 as a defense against Russia. The resulting development spurred the growth of nearby Helsinki and is today a demilitarized tourist site. The island’s layered histories bring to mind a passage from W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz: “Our concern with history is a concern with pre-formed images already imprinted on our brains, images at which we keep staring while the truth lies elsewhere, away from it all, somewhere as yet undiscovered.”
PANORAMA / ciudad (PANORAMA / city) was curated by Javier Fernández Pérez de Lis (Vigo, 1979) at Galería Adhoc with work by Annegien van Doorn (Vlissingen, 1982), Carme Nogueira (Vigo, 1970), Dieuwertje Komen (Schaijk, 1979), Kim Bouvy (Amsterdam, 1974), and Mar Cuervo (A Coruña, 1980). An additional group of photographers’ work is on display in a selection of Fw:Photography books by Geraldine Jeanjean (Amsterdam, 1978), Elian Somers (Sprang-Capelle, 1975), and Awoiska van der Molen, (Groningen 1972).
A panorama is an unobstructed view of the landscape in every direction. With its explicit focus on female photographers, the central question of the exhibition seems to be whether women see the landscape differently. There are other questions, too: what does the landscape look like? Where do natural landscapes end and urban landscapes begin? How do Dutch and Spanish photographers explore the landscape differently or the same? What is the relationship between people and the urban and rural spaces they encounter?