Framing the Space: capturing architecture through a camera lens
Every year, for its Art and Architecture exhibitions, ECC Italy sheds light on a selected group of photographers. In the context of the architecture biennial Time Space Existence 2023, ten photographers are showing their work in Palazzo Mora and Palazzo Bembo.
No photograph is the result of chance. The personality, background, and scope of each photographer play a substantial role when it comes to pressing the shutter button. There are indeed many different ways of capturing architecture, and this is what was aimed to be shown in this year’s exhibition with the works of Elisif Brandon, Ying Yi Chua, Anamaria Chediak, Annika Haas, Jacobien de Korte, Nic Lehoux, Adam Rouse, Daniel Stauch, Lara Swimmer, and Amaury Wegner.
In Elisif Brandon’s professional work, the human figure is presented in overwhelming structures. Emphasising angles and colour, shapes and curves, she tries to find the fragile balance between her eye, the architect’s intentions and the human’s unconscious interaction.
Lara Swimmer commercial practice focuses on civic buildings and public space. She is interested in the ways people inhabit and move through public libraries, schools and plazas. Her images seek to reveal and understand the life these spaces offer by the flow of their inhabitants.
Nic Lehoux stands at the crossroads of traditional architectural photography and social documentary works. His images are initially defined by the building itself: its form, its response to the site and to light. Like Swimmer, Lehoux is interested in the human response to the built environment. Buildings may be static, but they become dynamic when people inhabit them.
In new portspectives, Amaury Wenger searched for the beauty and uniqueness of these special places that are the ports. Ports are the indicators of the need for constant social reinvention. The confrontation with the art of building and its historical, social and scientific-technical preconditions encouraged the photographer to further develop his artistic research. Wenger is interested in the cognitive potential of visual art as a means of creating immediate access to complex, intuitively elusive contexts.
Adam Rouse’s photographs suggest an oscillating gaze between the architectural work and the environment within which it exists. He believes the photographic medium has the distinct ability to transcend its visual nature and become a gateway to something more layered, emotional, and personal in capturing the experience of an architectural work. Rouse’s photographs presented for this exhibition materialise atmospheric density.
The poetic touch of Jacobien de Korte’s photography is easily recognizable. Through concepts such as estrangement, loneliness, desolation, and mystery, she brings the viewer into an imaginary world where she is able to transmit her own emotions. The series Elevation is evocative of the feeling of limitless spaciousness, but also depicts human beings who feel alienated from the earthly world, lifted to a higher level.
For Daniel Stauch, post-production is an important part of his creative process. His project shown in Palazzo Mora presents iconic spaces such as Times Square and Piazza San Marco free of crowd. His aim is to provide unseen perspectives on the world’s busiest places. His project was born in 2016, before the Covid-19 pandemic, when seeing these spaces empty was close to impossible. Thanks to a specially developed technique that allows up to 1500 individual shots to be superimposed and combined into a new work, he offered the world a new perspective on these famous architectures.
Similarly, Anamaria Chediak photographs are the result of the composition of dozens of different shots, stitched together slowly and painstakingly. Also in Chediak’s work the space is free of crowd, but in her case, the life is long gone. Her photos present abandoned places where nature has taken back what was hers. With her project Memories Through the Liquid Desert Waves, the artist is making a wake-up call about the environmental crisis. Photography is for her a tool for raising awareness and calling for change.
Annika Haas also uses photography to address the theme of ecological awareness. Through her creative process, she tries to connect different generations and ways of thinking in order to cultivate an environmentally conscious attitude. Her project The Greenhouse Effect series portrays young Estonians aged 12 to 21 facing the future challenges of over-consumption, waste and the senseless exploitation of the natural world.
Last but not least, Ying Yi Chua, with his project Urbanscapes: contemplations on the Meaninglessness of Looking asks the question: How and what does one really see? In our digital world, a person generally spends less than 2 seconds on a subject. Similarly, taking a picture can take just a fraction of a second, while sketching requires much longer attention. Chua’s work consists of daily sketches and photos of Singapore’s urbanscapes. The sketches are then layered onto the photos the artist has taken simultaneously.
In addition to the exhibits in Venice, the works of the photographers will be featured in the limited-edition photo book OUT-SIDE-IN published by ECC-Italy in collaboration with Urbanautica and world-architects. The publication will be presented at the closing event of the exhibition on November 26th.