Starts Exalt the Darkening Sky is a site specific work by Ginevra Shay created on the occasion of her solo exhibition at the NO/Gallery spaces in Ghent. In the artist’s practice, the recognition and dialogue established with the place where she works is fundamental and often it is precisely by living the spaces that an art work takes a shape. In this case, the gallery is represented in an unexpected way: Shay, like an illusionist, creates a sense of suspension and disorientation.

The work consists of a series of twenty Silver Gelatin photographic prints, mounted as a large collage in which the starting image, created inside the gallery, is broken down and then recomposed into a photographic mosaic that occupies the wall in front of the shop window, using the same measures.  The subject of the photograph is the shop window itself, in this way Ginevra starts a game of mirrors moving on different layer of time.
Starts Exalt the Darkening Sky is a moment of public enjoyment that offers the intimate glimpse of the artist: Shay photographs herself as she captures her own shadow that seems to vanish between one level and another of the space, between the glass of the window and the camera lens. At her side a figure of a man on the phone, perhaps leaning against the street wall or perhaps inside the gallery. It is possible to hear the echo of the verses written by the artist about this project:

John once said in a txt msg:
a shadow is simply an absence of brighter light
but how desirable such an absence

With a melancholy but attentive gaze, Ginevra Shay, in the simplicity of an everyday image, manages to bring the observer into an intimate relationship with the image and with her person, suggesting a reflection on the status of photography. The collage, by breaking down and recomposing the experience of the present, tries to stop time to return it to a new indefinite flow in which the figure of the artist and that of the observer seem to chase each other, between voids and presences.

This photographic work also takes on a sculptural quality thanks to the place in which it is positioned and the relationship it establishes with the observer, now caged in a continuous spatial-temporal reference, between his own reflected image and that of the artist and the shadows that their bodies produce, inside and outside the image. Poised between light and shadow, between presence and absence, the artist photographs herself , involving the viewer in the work. The conceptual research and the technical/analogical experimentation of Start Exalt the Darkening Sky convert into a self-portrait in which the identity process of one’s representation is tested.


Ginevra Shay, Starts Exalt the Darkening Sky, 2019
Unique Silver Gelatin Photograph, 254x162c, © courtesy the artist


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