Here is someone we need to know.
As I write this presentation text, comfortably seated at my desk, she is climbing Mount Everest. This is Dani Tranchesi, passionate about life, new experiences, literally throwing herself into the new.
“I like to know new worlds, to look at the other, to discover other cultures, other houses, other looks and gestures. The other’s life is always very interesting and photography captures this essence,” she says.
As I got to know her and her photograph I felt there was a different vital pulse. Perhaps the essence she states in defining herself.
In conversation with Cassio Vasconcellos, my long-time friend, award-winning photographer, I concluded that it was time to show Dani’s pictures. I decided to open the doors of Galeria Estação to the new by inviting her to debut with us by starting the year 2018 with her.
In the curatorship, Cassio is alongside Paula Braga, perhaps the person who better knows Dani’s trajectory.
Let us all go together to this experience, with open eyes and senses.
Dani Tranchesi: Lucent Box Curated by Cássio Vasconcellos and Paula Braga Exhibition: Dani Tranchesi | Light -box Opening: February 27 at 7:00 p.m. Visitation until March 27, 2018 Monday to Friday, from 11am to 7pm, Saturdays from 11am to 3pm - free admission.
To look is to imprint light. Rays reflected by objects pass through the narrow passage of the pupil and mark the retina. The image is captured but the retina does not hold it. By closing the eyes, the image disappears. By diverting the pupils to another direction, light forms on the retina a new image. And whatever the light projects into the retina is immediately sent to the brain.
If the retina was able to fix for a long time the light it receives, we would see in superimposed layers. This happens briefly when an intense light comes from an object: for an instant, an imprecise mark of that very luminous object remains in the retina even after we have diverted the pupils to another direction. However, there are layers in the process of seeing the world. Our visual capture equipment combines with our memory to look and imagine at the same time, in a game of complex and mentally superimposed images. I look at a chair and diffusely imagine next to it, the table I saw yesterday. Any scene captured by human vision is pierced by a stream of imaginary thoughts and memories. To look and see only what is projected on the retina is an exceptional situation, perhaps possible for anyone who, with extreme concentration, can bar the flow of thought and imagination.
The camera, by not having a brain, is the simplification of the look. The camera only has the equivalent of a retina. Light passes through the aperture of the lens and definetely marks the film or paper. The following light input from the aperture will make another layer of image on the light sensitive surface. Therefore, on analog cameras, we wind the film before the next shot. The camera therefore provides us with a representation of the world without overlap, as if objects existed fixedly outside the subject investigating them. For a long time, it was believed that the photographic image could be a neutral record of the world without any subjectivity; and the name “objective” was given to one of the parts of the camera that allows the entrance of light.
It would undoubtedly be desirable for a technological tool such as the photography machine to make the world known to us objectively, scientifically. Unfortunatelly this is not possible. In fact, to this day philosophers discuss whether there is a world without a subject. The question is not so complex if the question is the possibility of representation of the world without subject. Any image is made by one subject and looked by another. There is no image without subjectivity. Even if the photographer only pushes the camera trigger, the equipment itself was made by subjects who follow cultural and ideological conventions of world representation (remember the case of kodachrome films that until the 1970s were not able to capture nuances of light reflected by black skin).1
As argued by Flusser, the camera is a black box that works from a program that is inevitable and decided by the programmer. The role of the photographer is, in a Sisyphus work, to constantly defy the equipment, even questioning the supposed objectivity of the programming.
Using digital imaging technology and reflective surfaces, Dani Tranchesi explains the subjectivity of imaging construction. More than images, the objects produced by the artist are clear boxes that defy the device by mixing the three participants in the love triangle (which is also the triangle of domination) that makes up the images of the world: photographer, photographed and spectator. It is a question of elaborating the image based on the action of the three subjects and the mutual relations of objectification they carry out.
The series of works developed in the last two years pursue a complex image that overlaps memory with the spelling of light and explores the role of the photographed and the spectator in the photographic act. The artist’s use of transparent layers to form each image challenges the logic of the photographic apparatus by mimicking the process of accumulation of mental images over the image received in the retina by the natural vision. Using an archive of digital photographs produced over the last ten years in her travels in more than sixty countries, Dani Tranchesi accesses old photos as one invokes memories. Thus, photographing buildings in a sparsely populated city can provoke the nostalgia and memory of the forest, and the result is a third image, which represents the urban landscape concomitantly with the desire for the green. Above this construction, the work receives the image of the viewer, who is reflected in a layer of acrylic or mirror.
The lucent boxes of Dani Tranchesi investigate what Phillipe Dubois called the image-act, a type of photograph that shows the living force of an image, “being understood that this ‘act’ is not only trivially limited to the gesture of production of the image itself (the gesture of the ‘taking’), but also includes the act of its reception and contemplation. Photography, in short, as inseparable from all its enunciation, as an experience of image, as a totally pragmatic object.”2
It is in the practice, therefore, that the representation of the world takes place, both in the practice of the photographer, who hunts his object in the “dense forest of culture”3 and in the practice of the spectator, who is captured on the reflecting surface and activates his narcissism to relate himself to the image, to recognize himself in what is represented in the photograph.
Anyone who observes the movements of a photographer equipped with a device (or a device equipped with a photographer) will be watching a hunting movement. The ancient gesture of the Paleolithic hunter who pursues hunting on the tundra. With the difference that the photographer does not move in open prairie, but in the dense forest of culture. His gesture is, therefore, structured by this artificial taiga, and every phenomenology of the photographic gesture must take into account the obstacles against which the gesture collides: reconstitute the condition of the gesture. The jungle consists of cultural objects, therefore of objects that contain certain intentions. Such objects intentionally produced prevent the photographer from seeing the game. And every photographer is prevented in his own way. The tortuous paths of the photographer aim to circumvent the intentions hidden in the objects. When photographing, he advances against the intentions of his culture. For this, to photograph is a different gesture, as it occurs in a western city jungle or in an underdeveloped city, in a living room or cultivated field. Deciphering photographs would entail, among other things, the deciphering of cultural conditions dribbled.4
The object hunted by Dani Tranchesi is not just the portrait. She hunts visual interactions and objectifying relationships of the other. Certainly the degree of objectification of the portrait is the highest. However, both the photographer and the spectator objectify themselves in a lighter degree, since they alternate between subject and object of the image, just as Narcissus looking at his image on the lake is both subject lover and beloved object.
In the works of Dani Tranchesi, the lake appears as a mirror, acrylic or water image. In the Hypothetical worlds series, the three reflective features instigate the viewer to pursue his own image. The transparency of the overlapping layers of cities, forests and beaches form a damp, inviting pool. The acrylic surface reflects the space where the work is installed and the reflection is incorporated into the work: it is essential that the viewer see himself on the reflecting surface and any doubt he carries about whether or not to use this free pass to self-observation will be answered by the small acrylic box containing a mirror, object within the object, entrance door for the observer to participate in the liquid scene, merge with the other layers of the image, dissolve into the world, whose representation is only possible if there is a subject that captures it. In the works of Dani Tranchesi this subject is also represented in the reflection. It is, thus, subject and object simultaneously.
In the large colored portraits, pierced by black and white eyes, the photographer explores the theme of Eurocentric documentary photography that investigates so-called exotic cultures. In the dense forest of Western culture, this portrait genre is valued as a possibility of knowing the other. However, in the pursuit of relations of imaginative domination, Dani Tranchesi’s photographs expose the exotic portrait as the apex of the objectification of the photographed by replacing the eyes of the model with eyes of those who see it, sometimes the eyes of the photographer.
Perhaps the most famous portrait of the genre in the history of photography is the image of the Afghan girl made in 1985 by Steve McCurry for the National Geographic cover. As much as the girl’s large green eyes see the photographer and viewer as if paralyzing them, giving her a defensive force against Western voyeurism, McCurry’s camera is the Medusa that froze the girl in a fixed state.5 The photographer “takes” a photograph, a verb that is consistent with the belief of some cultures. As in the case of the Brazilian Yanomamis, one should not photograph the sick because the photo “strips” them of vital forces. In fact, when the camera sucks out the light that the photographed reflects and graphs it in a fixed way, it turns it into an object and removes all other possibilities from it, all coming-into-being of the subject that are denied in the fixity of the photograph.
The explanation of the passage from subject to object is the subject of investigation in this series of Tranchesi. Whoever the red-turbaned guy is, has turned into an object played in the background in one of the back layers. On the surface of the image, what we see is the performativity of the photograph and its paralyzing power, with emphasis on the photographer’s Medusa eyes in the top layer of the image. In the acrylic boxes series, the picture is dissected into slides, separated into parts, including the fundamental element of the act generating the image under analysis: the blade with the photographer’s eyes. Hanging from the ceiling, the acrylic boxes show the portrait of the inhabitant of a distant country on one side and the image-act on the other. On one side, the frozen picture and on the other the frozen look.
In the Black mirrors series the photographer appears in full body, with the camera on hand, hidden between the several layers of the image. The viewer needs to hunt her on the stack of transparencies. Offering herself as prey, the action of the photographer takes on a softness that removes the hardness of Medusa’s gaze. She disguises herself in the jungle of cultural objects to avoid the obstacles imposed to the hunting to an image not foreseen by the programming of the apparatus. But who is the one portrayed in the black mirrors? That’s the point, since even though the various layers show people, the camera points at the viewer.
As in Las Meninas, the famous painting by Velazquez, in which the painter appears behind a large screen, in the Black mirrors series the artist is behind her instrument of reproduction of the world and looks at who is outside the work, the hidden subject that in Velazquez appears reflected in the mirror at the back of the room and is observed by the girls: the king and the queen. In Dani Tranchesi’s composition the focus of the camera is the viewer. It’s interesting that in some pieces of this series “the girls” are not looking out. In Basin with mirror the girl looks at the black acrylic rectangle glued over the image, which will precisely reflect the viewer. In The closet, the Indian man’s loving gaze is directed toward the photographer, who gazes at whoever is out of the picture. To enter the list of scrambled papers, it is enough for the viewer to position himself so that he appears in the vertical black mirror of the left corner of the composition.
Black mirror is also a reference to cell phone screens that opened the chapter of selfie in the history of photography. Never have people portrayed themselves so much and not so narcissistically. To reproduce onself in an image and to circulate it in social networks as if we were desirable products appeases the anguish of being subject and therefore responsible for action. Much more comfortable is to be the smiling object produced and distributed by the cell phone. Dani Tranchesi’s black mirrors explore the idea of ??selfie with rare dignity, inviting the viewer to reproduce himself in an image to interact with the layers of composition. The ephemeral selfie appears on the reflective surface of the black acrylic and joins for a moment the images from the collection of photographic memories of the artist, matching the Indian man, the balloon girl, the old Chinese woman cooking in front of a mirror.
In Galaxies, characters archived over the years by the look of Medusa are superimposed on a mirror. The viewer appears as the back layer. No matter how much he wants to be the observer, he is only the background, and he has to look behind the barriers, look through the bars, deviate from the soap balls, if he wants to be an object. And even then, he will be the product of interaction with the other stars in the galaxy. To see himself in the mirror, the observer will have to overcome obstacles, to look at the other, to search for oneself in the dense forest of cultural codes, to understand one another in integration with the world. And realize that just as there is no world view separated from the memory and thinking of the one who gazes, there is no observer separated from the world.
1 SMITH, David. “ ‘Racism’ of early colour photography explored in art exhibition”, jan. 2013. See . Retrieved: December 10, 2017.
2 DUBOIS, Philippe. O ato fotográfico. Campinas: Papirus, 2012, p. 15.
3 FLUSSER, Vilém. Filosofia da caixa preta. São Paulo: Hucitec, 1985, p. 18.
5 DUBOIS, op. cit., p. 146.
Photo Exhibition by Dani Tranchesi inaugurates the 2018 program
Opening: February 27, at 7 pm - until March 27
After inserting the Brazilian non-erudite production in the national and international contemporary scene, by organizing innumerable exhibitions and publications of self-taught creators under the scrutiny of renowned critics, Galeria Estação is also contemplating new artists naturally observed by the arts circuit. Therefore, to inaugurate the year 2018, presents Light -box, an exhibition of photographs by Dani Tranchesi curated by Cassio Vasconcellos and Paula Braga.
The first exhibition of the São Paulo born artist is composed of 35 works, series developed in the last two years that access an archive of digital photographs produced in the last ten years, in Tranchesi’s trips to over sixty countries. In her particular form of photography construction, which starts from the action of the photographer, the photographed and the spectator, the artist creates complex images that, according to the curators, overlap memory with the spelling of light and explores the role of the three agents. "More than images, the objects produced by the artist are clear boxes that defy the device by mixing the three participants in the love triangle (which is also the triangle of domination) that forms the world's images," says Paula Braga.
In one series, the use of transparent layers underlines the process of accumulation of mental images over the physical image captured by the eye. When accessing her digital archive, Tranchesi mimics little wooded town places with natural landscapes. "Thus, the photograph of buildings in a little wooded city can cause nostalgia and memory of the forest, and the result is a third image, which represents the urban landscape with the desire for the green," says Braga. The curator also emphasizes that, above this construction, the work receives the image of the viewer, who is reflected in a layer of acrylic or mirror.
In the large, colorful face-pictures that explore the theme of Eurocentric documentary photography about exotic cultures, Tranchesi replaces the eyes of those portrayed by black and white eyes of the viewers, often by her own ones. In another series the pictured appears in acrylic boxes, dissected in slides. Hanging on the ceiling, the boxes carry on one side the portrait - inhabitant of a distant country - and on the other the look of who sees it. "On one side, the frozen portrait and the other, the freezing look," the curator adds.
In Black Mirrors, the photographer's entire body appears hidden among the transparency of the various layers of the image. "But who is the one portrayed in the black mirrors? That's the question, because even though the various layers show people, the camera points to the viewer", Braga says. For the curator this series is also a reference to the screens of cell phones that opened the chapter of selfie in the history of photography. "Dani Tranchesi's black mirrors explore the idea of ??selfie with rare dignity, inviting the viewer to reproduce himself in image to interact with the layers of composition. The ephemeral selfie appears on the reflective surface of the black acrylic and joins for a moment the images from the collection of photographic memories of the artist, matching the Indian man, the balloon girl, the old Chinese woman who cooks in front of a mirror “.
Galaxies complete the exhibition, in which characters are superimposed on a mirror, making the viewer appear behind in the last layer. "As much as he wants to be the observer, he is only the background, and has to search himself behind the barriers, look through the bars, deviate from the soap bubbles if he wants to be an object," Braga adds.
Exhibition: Dani Tranchesi | Light -box
Opening: February 27 at 7:00 p.m.
Visitation until March 27, 2018
Monday to Friday, from 11am to 7pm,
Saturdays from 11am to 3pm - free admission.
Rua Ferreira de Araújo, 625 – Pinheiros SP
Fone: 55 11 3813-7253
Pool de Comunicação – Marcy Junqueira
Martim Pelisson and Luísa Teles
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