On the occasion of the twelfth edition of the Contemporary Day dedicated to Italian art, the Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea (PAC) presents The Appearance of That Which Cannot Be Seen by photographer and filmmaker Armin Linke (born 1966 in Milan, lives and works in Berlin). The exhibition reflects Linke’s approach to photography: rather than considering a photographic image as the simple result of capturing a moment or a detail, he makes the images the starting points for conversations analyzing these traces of reality. For The Appearance of That Which Cannot Be Seen, which has already been exhibited at the ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe and will travel to the Ludwig Forum in Aachen and the Centre de la photographie Genève, he invites scientists and theorists from various fields to engage with his archive, which encompasses more than twenty thousand photographs. In personal dialogues between the individual expert and the artist, images are selected and commented on. Viewed in the light of distinct conceptual and theoretical readings, the images are put into fresh contexts and looked at from different perspectives, thus creating a new series of interrelations. The conversations, which are present in the exhibition as texts and audio recordings, thus reveal multiple approaches to the contemporary topics that are depicted by Linke’s images. For more than twenty years, he has been documenting the representation of nature, the history of design, and the technological developments—as well as the ongoing economic and environmental changes—that go along with globalization. Besides their documentary aspect, Linke’s works always have the potential to blur the line between reality and fiction, to create narratives that are not bound to a predefined context. The process of continuous transformation and recontextualization that the images undergo during the conversations is reflected in the exhibition display that has been created for the show. The framed images are not installed on the museum walls but on single panels that modulate the space of the PAC. The system allows an ever-changing topology of dialogues and evokes the idea of the archive as something permanently changing and growing. But most of all, it expresses the range of interpretations that can be applied to the images and the open character of the exhibition itself. The architecture of The Appearance of That Which Cannot Be Seen changes from venue to venue, transforming itself in space through new relations and different modes of occupation. At the PAC, the exhibition arrangement that responds specifically to the space enters into a dialogue with the modernistic architecture of the pavilion, which was designed by Ignazio Gardella. The exhibition works like a visual and sound landscape that the spectator can discover. As in a stage setting, he/she can traverse the different chapters of the exhibition composed of the audio recordings and the images that have been selected by the particular actors. In addition to the contributions from the five experts that were already part of the show at the ZKM Karlsruhe in 2015/16 (Ariella Azoulay, Professor of Modern Culture and Media at the Brown University, independent curator and filmmaker, Bruno Latour, French anthropologist and professor at Sciences Po Paris, Peter Weibel, Chairman and CEO of ZKM and professor of media theory at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Mark Wigley, architectural theorist from New Zealand and Jan Zalasiewicz, British geologist and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group), the exhibition at the PAC will include three additional contributions by theorists: Lorraine Daston, director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Irene Giardina, who founded the Laboratory of Collective Behavior in Biological Systems and is working as a theoretical physicist at the Sapienza University of Rome, and Franco Farinelli, head of the Department of Philosophy and Communication Studies at Bologna University, where he teaches geography.
Text: Ferial Nadja Karrasch