Privilege of youth
Art Agenda Nova
Batorego 2, Krakow
On his first exhibition in Poland, in the nova gallery, the young Berlin photographer Gerrit Sievert presents 16 photographs from the series The Privilege of Youth / Privilege of Youth and accompanying video film.
The Privilege of Youth photography cycle is the effect of the artist's trip to the south of Europe, to Italy and France. With the holiday wave of tourists, Sievert found himself surrounded by aura of carefree freedom, sun-drenched Mediterranean beaches. The intensity of sensual sensations did not prevent him from remaining a careful observer. At the interface between land and sea, he discovered the idyllic realm of youth unaware of their own charm. Absorbed by various activities of children, creating their own alternative reality in which temporary rules of play are in force. In order not to disrupt the child's spontaneity and naturalness, Sievert had to submit to these rules. Follow the children and minimize the distance between them. He did not wait for the decisive moment in which, as Henri Cartier-Bresson thought, the right sense of the event was recognized. He did not value or direct individual scenes. Although photography is not a neutral and objective medium, the artist tried to interfere as little as possible with the existing situation. In a short moment the flash of the children became the involuntary heroes of his pictures. Captured in a fraction of a second, they last in photographs in surprising, random poses, unexpected gestures and unintentional movements. By isolating the simplest operations, Sievert shows that they are unique and significant. This impression is intensified by the special lighting technique, known from the mid-1920s, known as American Night. Thanks to her, when photographing in full sun, the artist obtained the effect of a mysterious lunar light, which cuts out delicate, slender, extremely flexible children's figures from the dark background. As a result of this perverse treatment, the colors become more intense, the contrasts stronger, the bodies more shiny. The disturbing feeling of unrealising the photographed reality also increases.
Speaking of the method of photography, one can not avoid comparing this cycle with a series of Streetwork works by Philip-Lorci di Corcia. Using the same surprise and sudden effect, the strong flash of di Corcia's light created a gallery of portraits of anonymous passers-by on the streets of big cities. Isolated from the background noise, they are as unintentional, unprepared heroes of the photos as children in Sievert's photographs. However, these cycles remain in opposition to each other. They collide thanks to two polar opposite images: an adult burdened with worries and duties, inscribed in the overwhelming metropolitan scenery and carefree, uninhibited as a youth in the bosom of nature. What separates them and separates is time. It is time that plays a key role in Sievert's work and, in a way, becomes their own theme. In the photographs, the artist tries to capture fractions of seconds. On the accompanying video, the video slows down the tempo of the action, and the short moments stretches to infinity. It analyzes the nature of time, but the conclusion is always the same and always makes us feel sorry. Time can not be stopped, everything must pass away and youth and summer.
The artist talks about this project:
The project 'The Privilege of Youth' consists of photos that I made during the last few holidays on different beaches in Italy and France. A record of the most holiday holidays, the quintessence of European holidays: summer holidays. It seems that during the hot months entire countries migrate to Mediterranean beaches. These few weeks in the South are of such importance that the time between summer months seems to be just a fulfillment between what is really important, like advertising on TV before and after the movie. But basically, what's happening on the beach? It looks like a choreography of ordinariness. Cheerfulness. Fun in the water. Idyll on the sand. Total depression in one activity. The inevitable pointless building of sand castles. Just like the summer itself, the castles will disappear to appear a day or a year later.
They are images of a concrete reality, which with the passage of time turns into a distant fantasy. It's like watching the future memories of these people while they are shaping. Children in these pictures seem to float in extraterrestrial trance, in some kind of total silence. In a way, these images are the representation of abstract concepts of memory. Magical private and at the same time universal moments discovering the mystery and joy of life itself.
As to the question of whether young girls squandering their youth, I believe that this is actually happening, because young people are not really aware of how special this is in their life. At the same time, if they were aware of it, this time would not be so special for them. Carefree is an inseparable part of pleasure. That is why youth must be squandered by young people so that they really are young.
At the beginning of the summer you think that it will never end, but of course it always ends. The approaching end is a shock, though one that comes slowly and ominously like the fate that has been announced. It is like a gloomy prospect of a terrible decision coming in the last days of summer. You want to live a day, but the awareness that the end is approaching colors the sunlight with a sweet melancholy. Partir, c'est toujours un peu mourir. But it is only when experiencing excitement and joy can also understand despair.
From a formal point of view, in these works I used the technique that inspired me in the film image - the technique that Francois Truffaut used in his film American Night. It is a method by which through appropriate lighting the daylight is turned into night. Although in most cases these photos were taken in strong sunlight, they look like they were made at a later, difficult to define time. Scenes gain a surreal dimension. Lighting of individual people emphasizes them and gives the effect of excluding them from the environment.