Scott Conarroe, Vittorio Sella

Frontière, Frontiera, Grenze

19.05 - 29.07.2016

Thursday, May 19 Photographica FineArt Lugano is pleased to present, for the first time in Switzerland, the Canadian photographer Scott Conarroe.

Frontière, Frontier and Grenze mean “border” in the three languages of the Alpine countries.
Photographica FineArt is proud to present, together with the Alpine glaciers’ photographs by Vittorio Sella (1859 – 1943), the latest work by the Canadian photographer Scott Conarroe (1974) that was inspired by the continuous movement of boundaries along the Alps due to the glacial melting and watershed drift.
With global warming, permafrost that covers the Alps retreats to higher and higher altitudes, causing the softening and the collapse of the ground below. The Alpine borders drawn in the past no longer reflect the lines of the Alpine ridges and drainage basins, therefore Switzerland, Italy, Austria and France, through the establishment of bilateral agreements, have decided to turn some of their border sections into “fluid” borders. In a few decades, when the Alps will again be “stabilized”, new borders between these countries will be established. The intention to redraw the borders between these states, however, can not solve the issue of the retreat of glaciers caused by global warming.
The alpine scenery imprinted in the images of Scott Conarroe is still wonderful but unfortunately no longer pristine:  it shows the consequences of the industrial age along with a new vision in art of governing in an era increasingly threatened by climate change.
It was however intact in Vittorio Sella’s time, around 130 years ago. In 1883 Sella, an established mountaineer and explorer, documented the Alps with his large field camera and its 30 x 40 cm photographic plates. The technique of the time was based on gelatin silver print, the images produced were contact prints, therefore they were the size of the paper itself, allowing in this way to obtain prints of very high definition. This consequently entailed the use of special equipment (designed by the photographer himself) that was rather cumbersome to transport to those altitudes.
Modern technology has instead allowed Scott to create images with several shots in multi framing, in this way he was able to capture views of our glaciers with exceptional definition; prints are in large format and are surprisingly sharp. Structurally, the Canadian artist’s project calls to mind a Google Earth tapestry of satellite views side by side.

Scott’s project was carried out with the assistance of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Canada Council for the Arts and in collaboration with the XX Gallery of Toronto.

Images by Vittorio Sella are from the Marco Antonetto Archive.