zoe leonard. sun photographs

May 24 - Jul 28, 2012
via a. stradella 1
Raffaella Cortese is pleased to present the second solo show here at the gallery by the acclaimed American artist Zoe Leonard. On occasion of the show we will open a new space in Via Stradella 1, a bright extension of Via Stradella 7, dedicated to installations, screenings, talks, presentations and exhibition of important individual works. In this case, the exhibition includes both galleries.

For more than twenty years, Zoe Leonard (born in 1961, in Liberty, New York) has been practicing the art of the contemplative journey and the perceptive gaze. She trawls through nature and culture, through the (urban) landscape and the world of museums, in search of signs that might give some insight into their contrasts, similarities and inter-relationships.

Zoe Leonardʼs predominantly black-and-white photographs are like a blurred cartography of the human condition. Her idiosyncratic gaze finds photographs that are subversive in their questioning, casual in their approach, incisive in what they reveal; in these photographs, viewpoint, subject and form are equally engaged.

In this exhibition, Leonard will show her recent series of the sun photographs.
The photographs are pictures taken of the sun, pushing the limit of what is possible to record with a camera. One is not supposed to look at the sun and one of the cardinal rules of photography is not to shoot into the sun. The sun is the source of all illumination, but is rarely the subject of a photograph. Turning the camera the sun reverses all the rules of photography, but it is also a way of looking directly at the source of the medium; these photographs produce an image of their own starting point.

These sun photographs, taken over the last year, are equally balanced between their subject and their process, the glare and flare on the lens, the grain of the film in the enlarged print. Without spotting or retouching, the evidence of darkroom work remains visible.

"Iʼm interested in the abstract possibilities of photography. By choosing a subject which is impossible to depict, Iʼm exploring a way of depicting sight, experience, and the actual process of perception." (Zoe Leonard)

Zoe Leonard is a New York–based artist working with photography, sculpture, and installation. A traveling retrospective of her work originated at Fotomuseum Winterthur (2007-2010). Other solo exhibitions include Camden Arts Centre, London (through June 24, 2012); Dia:Beacon, Beacon, New York (2008 –11); Dia at the Hispanic Society, New York (2008); Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (2007); and Vienna Secession (1997); Leonard participated in Documenta 9 (1992) and 12 (2007), and the 1993 and 1997 Whitney Biennials. She is co-chair of the graduate program in photography, Bard College. Recent publications include Zoe Leonard: Analogue (2007), Zoe Leonard: Photographs (2008), and Zoe Leonard: You see I am here after all (2010).