Clarina Bezzola - Press release
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.”
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
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
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
WHO ARE YOU?
Faceless Tableaux Vivants
New portraits in photography and video art
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
*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
*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
*1970 Zurich, Switzerland
1995 BFA, Parsons School of Design, New York
lives and works in New York.
*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