LA NATURE HUMAINE

Love, Sex and War

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David Solow and I live in the same town, and are very close in spirit and kinship, yet our artistic styles are somewhat apart, almost in opposition. That especially struck me when I was first introduced to this work of his "not two, only one" which he created for the 2012 Biennial of Casablanca. It was obvious that that work was along the same lines as the underlying theme of my series "La Nature Humaine," and especially of the piece "Dans les Moments de Vérité," but in a dramatically different visual style that nevertheless carried a common semantic.

I have been a photographer for 40 years, and all the time my interest has been about the deep connection that photography has with reality. For me that is what gives photography its strongest emotional power. Therefore all my work is harvested in the wild, where things happen or not, unpredictably, and at their pace. I am undoubtedly less in control than I would like people to think. I work on the edge, on the fly, I merely try to be where I need to be, when I should be, as long as I can be, given my limited means. It is nothing short of a miracle that given those constraints, I have accumulated the pieces that the Gods of photography have been gracious enough to let me capture to tell my story.

Obviously conceptual artists are not typically reality bound, and they tend to use photography as a window into their psyche rather than as a medium in its own right. But for better and worse, the presence and influence of conceptual art (I think that all arts are virtually conceptual) in today's art world cannot be overstated. It therefore appeared to me to be extremely important, and powerful, to be able to see two artists, one conceptual one not, tackling on the same theme, so that the audience may compare and reconcile both, especially when those two works were done independently from each other, and not for the sake of this exhibit.

Jean-Christian Rostagni, July 2012
DAVID SOLOW

Statement

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not two, only one
We talk. We kill. We talk to express hate but also love. We talk to find food sources. We kill to eat. We talk in order to find a mate, and we kill for the same reason. We talk to disarm violence. We kill to protect. We talk to get what we want. We kill, because we want more. We are human beings. We are animals. We are both, all the time.

Communication, like art making, is an act of representation; it both facilitates and complicates relationships as expressed in this series of two types of photographs, each arranged as a kind of stage. In one, two people talk with each other. In the other, a person talks to the severed head of an animal. The aspect ratio (the relationship between height and width) of the photographs is the same as Cinemascope, a format often used for the grand epics of cinema. The subjects are presented in various spatial relationships in the black expanse of the photographs to illustrate the dramatic nature of communication. Our desires and fears hide in the darkness. Here, in this work, as in conversation, what we can’t see or hear is as important as what we can.

A person “in conversation” with a severed animal head emphasizes the limits of communication and points to a greater scope of violence that is perpetrated by humans in order to live, as well as for reasons that have nothing to do with survival. It may be the reality of difference that drives us to connect, but it is the fiction of separateness that allows us to destroy.


David Solow 2012
pas deux, un seul
On parle. On tue. On parle pour exprimer la haine, mais l’amour aussi. On parle pour trouver sa nourriture. On tue pour manger. On parle pour trouver son compagnon, et l’on tue pour cette même raison. On parle pour prévenir la violence. On tue pour protéger. On tue pour obtenir ce qu’on veut. On tue parce qu’on en veut plus. Nous sommes des êtres humains. Nous sommes des animaux. Nous sommes les deux à la fois, en permanence.

La communication, comme la création artistique, est un acte de représentation, qui facilite et complique à la fois les relations, comme l’illustre cette série composée de deux genres de photographies, chacune agencée comme une scène de théâtre. Dans l’une, deux personnes se parlent. Dans l’autre, une personne parle à la tête tranchée d’un animal. Les proportions des photographies (le rapport entre leur hauteur et leur largeur) sont celles du cinémascope, un format souvent utilisé pour les grandes épopées cinématographiques. Les sujets sont présentés dans diverses relations spatiales sur un fond noir pour illustrer la nature dramatique de l’acte communicatif. Nos désirs et nos peurs se cachent dans l’obscurité. Dans le travail présent, comme dans une conversation, ce qui échappe à notre vue et notre ouïe est tout aussi important que ce qui leur parvient.

Une personne « conversant » avec une tête d’animal tranchée souligne les limites de la communication et pointe la démesure de la violence perpétrée par l’homme à des fins de survie ou pour toute autre raison. C’est peut-être la réalité de la différence qui nous pousse à établir des liens, mais c’est la fiction de la spécificité de notre condition qui autorise à détruire.


David Solow 2012
Not Two, Only One
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David Solow_not two, only one

not two, only one

Hangfeng and Sheep

arabe protest pentagon
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David Solow_not two, only one

not two, only one

Cow and Julia

Not Two, Only One
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David Solow_not two, only one

not two, only one

Landry and Dominic

Not Two, Only One
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David Solow_not two, only one

not two, only one

Junfeng and S'Thabile

JEAN-CHRISTIAN ROSTAGNI
French  Market Butcher shop
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french market butcher shop

Dans les Moments de Vérité

Paris, Maubert Mutualité,
Février 1993.

phallus fungus
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Fungus Phalus

Instinctive Nature

Duke Gardens, Durham, 2005.

Nu
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nu

Eveil Matisse avec Béatrice

Atelier Peynier, France, 1990.

Don Quixotte Mushroom
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don quixotte mushroom

Cervantes is Among Us

Duke gardens, Durham, 2005.

reptile_Aligator
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reptile_Aligator

Local Jaws
Chapel Hill. North Carolina. 1995.

tent worms
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tent worms

Temporel

Home, Durham, 2003.

appalachian tree
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appalachia tree

Lifting

Virginia Grayson Highlands State Park. 1998.

normandy, France, Cow, Bull, Calf, sexual
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normandy, France, Cow, Bull, Calf, sexual

Scène Buccolique

Vexin, France, June 1991.

Nice France, Baie des Anges
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Nice France Baie des Anges

Le Démon sur la Baie des Anges

Nice, France, June 2001.

Romeo and Juliette
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Romeo and Juliette_Verona

Ca di Giulietta
Verona, Italy, January 1993.