Clarina Bezzola - Press release                                                                        

Clarina Bezzola
Two Worlds

September 5 - October 24, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009, 7 p.m.

Special opening hours
to mark the start of the season in Frankfurt:
Saturday, September 5 and
 Sunday, September 6, 11 - 6p.m.

“In my work I try to capture the world of the indescribable, the world of feelings, fears, and desires. We experience these unaccountable forces as threatening and ill-fitted, and therefore, we go through a painful conflict between mind and body.”                                                                                                        Clarina Bezzola

It is between two worlds, where we often feel torn. Entangled in cognitive captivity, thoughts whirl through our minds and don’t allow us to calm down.
In her current exhibition, “Two Worlds”, the young Swiss artist, Clarina Bezzola (*1970), describes the discord between coercion on one level and freedom on another.
The world of emotions, psychology, and corporeality are decidedly important in Clarina Bezzola’s work. And Nature itself portrayed in her work mirrors human sensitivity. It emerges as symbolic vibrancy, boasting an ever-mysterious connection to human life.
Colliding realities and erratic mutations recur in Bezzola’s work just as inversions of internal and exterior worlds do.
In her earlier works, Bezzola felt the necessity to bury her unbearable feelings of vulnerability under impenetrable armours. Some times protected by a solid shield of metal or else camouflaged by filigree flower patterns, these protective skins enable its wearer to keep any shortcoming to him or herself, and emerge armed with a new identity. Even today’s society contrives protective coats, in order to sustain the demarcation between two contrasting worlds.
Protective mechanisms, to which metamorphosis can be counted to a certain extent, have been known in the art-historical tradition since antiquity. Arguably most famous for the fusion of man and plant is “Daphne” from Ovid’s metamorphoses. Ultimately, Daphne sends an ejaculation to the gods while escaping from Apollo, and subsequently turns into a Grecian Laurel. This metamorphisizing spell protects Daphne from Apollo’s desire and enables her to convert into a pure state of nature. Her hair adopts the form of leaves, bark protectively sheathes her body, feet become roots, and fingers, branches.
But what happens if the process of metamorphosis gets inversed? What if, say, roots became fingers and humans found new grounding by wearing helmets shaped like roots? How should we approach this phenomenon? These are situations, whereby mankind silently and submissively coalesces with nature and the universe. But before coalescence, the long path of self-recognition awaits human beings. Only a state of trust allowing fusion enables humans to be at ease with nature.
This process of letting go can however be of very longwinded nature. The overcoming of this dichotomy turns out to be an organic growing process, which even grows beyond the duration of the exhibition. Through her sketches and drawings Clarina Bezzola illustrates the difficulties of this theme and grants us some insight into the creation process of her next large-scale performance piece. With this specific project, Bezzola ultimately plans to illustrate the dilemma of mankind, as we are no longer capable of listening to our own thoughts or allowing ourselves to simply drift from one experience to another, due to the societal burdens we are carrying on our shoulders.
Dolefully lamenting, while connected to extensive roots emerging from her body, the artist intends to wander through the streets of a city, pulling a colossal globe along. Due to the extreme length of these roots, which make the remote distance to her mother earth too great to feel a connection, the sad wanderer has become unaware of her origin. It seems that in this state of isolation the aria from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera, “La Sonnambula” (1831) which she is singing, is shot into nothingness. Not until the end, when she arrives at a place of closure, does she realize her connection and starts pulling the earth closer and closer to her-self, to finally slip into her mother completely and coalesce with everything. What remains are the remnants of the metamorphosis.


All images courtesy Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna and Galerie Antje Wachs, Berlin

Thorsten Brinkmann | Boo Ritson | Clarina Bezzola | Hannu Karjalainen

Faceless Tableaux Vivants
New portraits in photography and video art

Group Exhibition



June 26 to August 16, 2008
Opening Thursday, June 26, 2008, 6 -9 pm
Galerie Adler New York


Galerie Adler New York is pleased to announce "Who are you? – Faceless Tableaux Vivants" featuring the four young international artists Thorsten Brinkmann, Boo Ritson, Clarina Bezzola and Hannu Karjalainen.
Emerging in early 19th century, the "tableaux vivants" originally were re-enactments of famous pieces of art by actors or models for the instruction and entertainment of the upper class society. In their own way, each of the artists develops this concept further, playing with the idea of "living pictures" and "staged portrait photography", starting out from central themes of paintings and sculptures but translating them in photography, video and performance.
The common theme they work on is the portrait which classically is to display the likeness, status, personality, or even the mood of the person depicted. But what if the portrayed persons do not show their faces, or when they hide their sentiments covered by painted masks, running colour, textile fibre sculptures or all kinds of everyday-life and furniture objects?

Thorsten Brinkmann's (*1971 Stuttgart, Germany) photographic self-portraits turn this classic genre upside down. His work is initiated by objects discarded by civilization, ordinary things like bottles, flower pots, lamp shades or shelves. The results are strikingly picturesque and unconventional at the same time: dimmed colours with soft contours reminiscent of the classical three-quarters portrait have us reassess our viewing habits. The visual object is covered, hidden, and slightly deviates from the context we are used to, drawing us into a picture-puzzle between photography and painting.

A pair of bloodshot eyes peers blearily from what appears to be a painted bust, but there is an unmistakable glint of something living, and this is no straight-forward portrait. Boo Ritson (*1969 Surrey, UK) covers her models' faces and bodies with barrier cream and household paint, following their outline, hair and clothing. Rather than having her subjects impersonate a pre-existent concept, she draws from pure American pop stereotypes and turns her subjects into scurrile versions of their own self.

Transformation is the word that comes to mind with the works of Clarina Bezzola (*1970 Zurich, Switzerland). Coming from a soprano career at the opera, she has a strong connection to stage scenes and theatrical dramaturgy. Her characters become living sculptures, seem to tell us a story about metamorphoses, as we watch them in the process of transforming into fences, mattresses, or billowing mega-corps without any clear shapes. With their faces often hidden, her protagonists' expressions are only partly visible and her performances focus on gestures captured during strongly expressive movements.

The protagonists of Hannu Karjalainen's (*1978 Haapavesi, Finland) video works are lonely, enigmatic, seemingly soulless creatures. "Man in a blue Shirt" builds a tension between the indexical traits of the image and the painterly gestures animating and transforming its surface when the weathered skin becomes replaced by the gloss of the pouring paint. In an uncanny way, Karjalainen's work enacts what Roland Barthes described in photography, when he noted that the photographic image was a "living image of a dead thing", incapable of differentiating between the dead and the living - animating them equally, making them equally real.


Thorsten Brinkmann
*1971 Stuttgart, Germany

1994 - 1997 Studies of Visual Communication in Kassel, Prof. Neusüss
1997 - 2002 Studies of Fine Arts, HfbK Hamburg, Prof. Blume
2002 Diploma in Fine Arts, HfbK Hamburg
2002 - 2004 Advanced Studies in Fine Arts on invitation
of Prof. F.E. Walther

Courtesy Galerie Kunstagenten, Berlin

Boo Ritson
*1969 Surrey, UK

2003 - 2005 Royal College of Art, MA Sculpture
1999 - 2002 Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College.
BA Fine Art (First)

Courtesy David Risley Gallery, London

Clarina Bezzola
*1970 Zurich, Switzerland

1995 BFA, Parsons School of Design, New York

lives and works in New York.
Hannu Karjalainen
*1978 Haapavesi, Finnland

2005 Master of Art, University of Industrial Arts Helsinki,
Department of Photography
2001 Bachelor of Art, University of Industrial Arts Helsinki,
Department of Photography
1997-98 Muurla School of Photography

Courtesy Gallery TaiK, Helsinki

© 2009 All rights reserved: Galerie Adler Frankfurt - New York
Hanauer Landstraße 134, 60314 Frankfurt, Germany, +49 (0)69-43053962,