LA NATURE HUMAINE
Love, Sex and War
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. I was first introduced to David's work with not two, only one, which he created for the 2012 Casablanca Biennial. That work struck me as being conceptually close to my series La Nature Humaine, 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 fundamental connection that photography has with reality. For me that is what gives photography its strongest emotional power. All my work is therefore 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.
Most contemporary photography shown in galleries nowadays is produced in very controlled situations, which have implications in its emotional resonance. David's work is part of that current. But while his photographs might be artificial constructions, they nevertheless speak of reality. We come from two different traditions in photography, but we both have strong conceptual underpinnings in our work, and we both create beautifully crafted prints, which reflect the totality of our vision, since we are also our own printers.
The prints themselves have a rare power, but what makes this show particularly important and unusual is the presentation of two artists' visions from the main yet opposite traditions of photography, tackling the same theme, so that the audience may compare and reconcile both approaches. This opportunity is particularly pertinent, because those two bodies of work were done independently, and not for the sake of this exhibit.
Jean-Christian Rostagni, February 2013
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