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Vanishing Points


When we draw, we often concentrate on a particular detail, an element that we study for hours while trying to capture its essence. On other occasions, the subject of study can blend into the background. As certain elements fade, the boundaries between the background and those figures present vanish. Photographers apply a similar technique, adjusting focus to highlight particular features, while leaving others blurred.


Vanishing Points is our title, an umbrella term for all the works gathered at this exhibition. Fifteen young artists from China, Israel, Denmark, Italy, Brazil, India, Greece, and Poland took part. They all met in New York, where they had moved to work, study and develop. The main concept of the project is the idea of transition, embodied by the artists’ own journeys and their accompanying experiences, responses, and feelings. The presented works are mainly photographs and films; each work alludes to the idea of Vanishing Points in different ways.


Some works are literally blurred pictures, abstract compositions of color and shape, while others are metaphorical, where the symbolism requires real scrutiny in order to decode the artist’s intent.


Can you forget your place of origin, when you change country or move too often? Can your sense of personal or national identity become hopelessly lost in this disorienting time of bewilderingly swirling and rapid information ?


Plastic Utopia III, a film by Fan Daqi, explores a digitally generated model of an island. His virtual world is constructed with ‘scraps’ obtained from actual Google Earth screen captures, reassembled at his whim. Daqi invites us to reflect on a perennial question of our age: will humanity master the virtual reality that it has invoked, or be consumed by it?


Carla Maldonano uses an analogue camera to express her feelings about the surrounding world. She captures people and events from her life. Her photos are blurry, but perfectly composed, depicting rich emotions and immersive colors. For me, analogue photography will always possess that elusive quality of intuition, absent when employing a digital camera.


In her Moloch cycle of photos, Livia di Lucia perceives the world through a cold filter, seemingly suspended between waking and dreaming. The cycle begins by showing di Lucia in a psychoanalytic session, where she is encouraged to question the meaning of her dreams. Succeeding photos convey a resonant symbolism. Cold images evoke emotions of deep fear mixed with longing. The tone is minimalistic and calm.


Our exhibition features two photographs from the New Tibet cycle by Naixin Xu. The images capture surreal scenes, reflecting on the socio-geographic contrast between the timeworn plateau of the land - ringed by mountains - and the programme of state propelled modernisation. For example, one image shows the juxtaposition of metal detectors placed in front of a tranquil lake, harbingers of a major new construction project.


Rebecca Krasnik has long been obsessed with clocks. These two images depict clocks, discovered by her during an instance of nocturnal perambulation around New York. The city becomes a pretext for reflections about time and space. Urban material reality is secondary in her work; glass skyscrapers and other buildings dissolve into the enveloping blackness of the night.


In her work, Israeli artist Meytar Moran subtly effaces the local identity of place. It not easy to recognize where her photographs are taken. Images of cosmic architecture or minimalistic structures are far from the common depictions of Israel in the media.


Speaking For Fruit is a new CGI animation by Sera Chen, featuring digitally rendered fruit. The depicted virtual world resembles the real world, but with fruit-like objects defying logic. We hear definitions for fruit. We can imagine this film being watched by children of the 23rd century, for whom the concept of fruit is a dimly remembered historical artifact. The organic world does not exist and is only a reflection of a reflection.


Nachiket Guttikar takes an abstract approach to his photography of the city. Instead of familiar street photography, Guttikar takes multilayered pictures of the city from the perspective of a person using their camera to explore the city in novel directions. Are his pictures ‘true’ representations or merely illusions, kaleidoscopic reflections of the city in the glass mirror of a skyscraper’s facade?


Yiwen Qiu's film Person/Object is a contemporary fable where objects and people fuse, becoming animate and enacting witty narratives. In social relations, at work, and in personal relationships, we are often preemptive, using or exploiting others for our own devices. Qiu explores such patterns of behavior in her work.


In creating her abstract videos, Yi Qian alludes to Chinese tradition. She is interested in the ‘still life’ that she engages with every day. Objects in her films materialize into being, projecting a sense of immanence. Her work references ancient Chinese poetry.


Taole Zhu’s impulse in creating Searching For Clouds Across The Borders was the history of refugees arriving in Europe, forced to leave their homes by the threat of violence, seeking safety and a chance to build secure new lives elsewhere.


Employing Google Earth, the artist identified particular locations in Greece, Syria, and Germany. He captured and collated images of these locations… inviting us to view them through the eye of a refugee. His work serves to remind us that we are all people inhabiting the same planet under the same sky. His work begs the question whether technology brings us closer or only creates distance.


Xiaoyi Shen

The film Smiling Sisyphus reflects Xiaoyi Shen’s sense of the absurd. In several performances, she tames her fear of an alien world. In her work, New York vistas become the background to her live performances. Shen questions both what is permitted and prohibited in the public space. The piece evokes tension and unease, by combining the private and the public sphere.


Collage is still a relevant form of expression. However, today Photoshop has become the premier tool, replicating the effect while replacing the traditional paper technique.


The self-portrait Time Traveller - by Lales Petros - is a 2D image of a 3D head. Is it a selfie or a future ID portrait? His work is open to interpretation. The head appears to become a map; Petros is inviting us to study the topography of his head. In the words of the artist, “only when we become flat can we travel through time”.

Fana Fana’s works are beautifully composed images generated in Photoshop. We see in them references to the tradition of early twentieth century collage. Her work mixes layers, parts of the human body together with CGI elements. What is the impact of technology on our perception? Tools, graphic programs, and other applications have entered our language as they manufacture contemporary culture.


Taogerule's works consist of a form of collage. In Never Where, Taogerule takes a map and reassembles it via photo-montage, tearing and collaging… the effect is a map without references.

At first sight, it appears to be a map, but if we look closer, the map does not provide us with any navigational clues.  Geographical Information has been processed, but the roads and highways break off into nowhere. In a few years time, indulged by programs such as GPS and google maps, will we even be capable of reading a traditional map for ourselves? Paper maps are already becoming vintage objects.


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