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Lina Selander: Galleria Tiziana Di Caro.

Lina Selander


Lina Selander's first exhibition at Galleria Tiziana Di Caro comprised three video installations from the same series with which she is currently representing Sweden at the Fifty-Sixth Venice Biennale. These works, from "Excavation of the Image--Imprint, Shadow, Spectre, Thought," 2011-15, are tied together with subtle shared references and reveal their impact gradually, through the viewer's accumulated experience with each subsequent installation. Selander employs video to explore the ways in which history and reality itself are aesthetically reified, while also parsing the relationship between the technology used to capture an image and its meaning. She experiments with mixing genres and methodologies, and her audio tracks feature hybrid versions of various languages; all of this functions to demolish any classical narrative structure.

The video Model of Continuation, 2013, opened the show with an enigmatic play of mirrors. In what appears to be a production studio, two video cameras are mounted across from each other; the picture recorded by one is projected onto a wall and simultaneously filmed by the second. This monotonous flow of images is occasionally intercut with scenes taken from Kaneto Shindo's Children of Hiroshima (1952), Alain Resnais's Hiroshima mon amour (1959), and Erik Barnouw's Hiroshima Nagasaki August, 1945 (1970), such that the theme of atomic disaster begins to emerge.

This subject comes to the fore in Lenin's Lamp Glows in the Peasant's Hut, 2011, whose point of departure is the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. The video component of the work collapses the rise and fall of the Soviet Union through a temporal short circuit achieved by montage. Selander juxtaposed her own footage with appropriated clips from Dziga Vertov's film The Eleventh Year (1928), an emblematic example of the militantly propagandistic cinema produced in the early years of the Soviet Union. Vertov's film--a documentary that itself unfolds via early techniques of montage--was occasioned by the tenth anniversary of the October Revolution and celebrated the construction of a hydroelectric plant on the Dnieper River. For her video, Selander reassembled these official images of a regime at its height and intercut them with frames she shot in Pripyat, a town located on a tributary of the Dnieper that housed workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and that became a toxic ghost town after the disaster. The installation also includes a display case holding nine photographic works created by exposing photosensitive paper to stones containing uranium, a gesture that references the historical proximity of the advent of photography and the discovery of radioactivity.

The Offspring Resembles the Parent--created in 2015 in collaboration with Oscar Mangione--concluded the exhibition. The video's title is inspired by a passage from Aristotle's Politics, in which the philosopher asserts that it is not natural for money's value to increase through interest, since money, unlike livestock and agriculture, cannot reproduce itself. Composed of still images (largely archival) and found video footage, the work conveys a bitter reflection on the inconsistencies between human and economic values. Much like Lenin's Lamp Glows in the Peasant's Hut, this work is a meditation on the difference between institutional and individual memories. The work begins with images of the emergency banknotes printed in Germany during a period of extreme inflation in the 1920s; their designs are emblazoned with propagandistic messages in text and image alike. In hindsight, we can read this currency as a material trace of the onset of an era fraught with crises concerning sociopolitical, cultural, and moral values--a time that, in so many ways, is indistinguishable from the present.

--Eugenio Viola

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.
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Title Annotation:Italy
Author:Viola, Eugenio
Publication:Artforum International
Geographic Code:4EUIT
Date:Nov 1, 2015
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