Amelia Bauer : This Land

AMELIA BAUER:
THIS LAND
Photographic Exhibition
27th September – 25th October 2013

RB Contemporary is proud to present, from 27th September to 25th October 2013, at Foro Buonaparte 46 in Milan, ‘THIS LAND’, the first personal exhibition in Italy and in Europe by the American photographer Amelia Bauer.

The exhibition offers four different series of great photographs, in which Amelia Bauer investigates our fear of the unknown and our romantic fascination with uncontaminated landscapes. Nature is the mistress, in this land where civilisation is still in touch with the wilderness. The fear of the unknown mixes with fascination for the unexplored, giving rise to personal and magnetic works of art. Light and colour seem to distance the images of nature from reality.

It is interesting to reflect on the parallels between the diffusion of floral still life in Europe during the 17th Century, and what was happening at the same time in America with the witches of Salem. In the ‘Book of Shadows’ series, the ingredients of various spells are displayed, like in Flemish still life. The beauty of the compositions lightens the theme being portrayed.

 

In contrast, it is human intervention creating artefacts which is found in the ‘Burned Over’ series, created in the woods in Upstate New York. This is the territory of the witches of Blair, and where spiritualism first appeared. Pyrotechnic experts created special fireworks, which gave rise to powerful images which suggest that something supernatural is happening. These are theatrical images of nature, indomitable and fascinating.

Witches, like uncontaminated nature, pervade the American imagination, and re-emerge in Amelia Bauer’s photographs with powerful suggestiveness. The ‘Extra Terrestrial’ series presents the typical desert landscapes of New Mexico photographed at night but illuminated by natural daylight lamps. The veracity of the shots disappears in a surreal aura which gives way to the beauty of the landscape in an extra-terrestrial light. The same nocturnal light is used for the ‘Midnight in Diablo Canyon’ series, where the rocks emerge from the moonlight in a vibrant ‘tone on tone’.

Indomitable landscape plays a central role in many American mythical adventures. They are places full of possibilities waiting to be discovered, full of roads to be travelled, but also a place of the obscure, of the unknown. Amelia Bauer explores the American tradition of Frontiers as landscapes of transition, at the limits of civilisation, where our fear of the unknown meets our romantic fascination with uncontaminated landscapes.

Extra terrestrial #6, 2011, Archivial pigment print, ed. 10+2 a.p., cm 75x50
Extra terrestrial #4, 2011, Archivial pigment print, ed. 10+2 a.p., cm 75x50
Extra terrestrial #4, 2011, Archivial pigment print, ed. 10+2 a.p., cm 75x50
Midnight in Diablo Canyon #1, 2011, Archivial pigment print, ed. 5+1 a.p., cm 113x75
Burned Over #1, 2012, Archivial pigment print, ed. 5+1 a.p., cm 100,5x151
Burned Over #2, 2012, Archivial pigment print, ed. 5+1 a.p., cm 100,5x151
Book of Shadows, For a Man to Attract a Woman He Desires, 2013. bacche di tamerici, foglie di alloro, radici nere di serpente (Ageratina altissima), cannella, geranio, zenzero, rosa, verbena. Archivial pigment print, ed. 12+2 a.p., cm 81x81. In collaboration with Elizabeth Parks Kibbey
Book of Shadows, To See Spirits, 2013. Pepe, zafferano, verbena. Archivial pigment print, ed. 12+2 a.p., cm 60x60. In collaboration with Elizabeth Parks Kibbey