Zurich – Until September 29th, 2018
On the first floor: FRACTURED LAND – a selection of Paolo Pellegrins most important crisis and conflict photographs
The new series by the Italian photographer Paolo Pellegrin (*1964) presents to us the stunning natural beauty of the antarctic ice shield, which is simultaneously a site of human-made crisis. The large-scale works on display portray a seemingly intact environment, but at closer observation reveal the eminent danger of being lost to global warming. Pellegrin photographed the antarctic ice fields and glaciers from within a surveying airplane, that is NASA`s annual IceBridge aerial expedition, on their observational flights across the frozen continent. For the first time, his photographs offer a new perspective of Antarctica taken from an altitude of 300-500 meter, presenting us with never before seen, detailed and spectacular aerial photographs.
The resulting photographs demonstrate how an almost untouched landscape is yet about to disappear due to our industrial activities elsewhere and reminded us, once more, that environmental crises know no borders. And this is where Paolo Pellegrin draws on his experience as a MAGNUM photographer, having covered many sites of catastrophes, wars and crises. While normally being up-close and embedded, in this personal assignment he steps back to present us with—literally—a bigger picture of a less tangible event: a conflict without noise and visible victims. Yet, a conflict that impacts all of us.
On the other hand, the fact that Pellegrin often photographed this vast white landscape with its icy patterns of cracks and snowy textures without a horizon line call to mind Alfred Stieglitz’ “Equivalents” from a century ago, which are often referred to as the first true abstractions in modern photography. This combination of abstract beauty with the looming destruction elevates Pellegrin’s work to something more than mere visual documents.
Exhibition until September 29, 2018