The photographs in Falling: A Part, Thomas Zanon-Larcher’s first solo exhibition at The Wapping Bankside, recall the work of Claude Chabrol or Ingmar Bergman: dramas, even melodramas, which nonetheless examine existential anxieties. The exhibition gathers images of women living ordinary lives, testing the boundaries of fear, transgression, escape and pursuit in contemporary society. Walking away, getting out, escaping…a woman looks over her shoulder in a tram in Vienna, another searches in Smithfield. Thomas Zanon-Larcher’s work scrapes away at ordinary fears, commonplace fantasies, catching at nerve ends. In Falling: A Part the space between film, drama and reality is blurred.
These photographs belong to Zanon-Larcher’s narrative work, a cycle of photographic stories, in which nothing is staged formally. Working closely with performers as if shooting a movie, Zanon-Larcher sets up role plays. Loosely shaped stories founded in the traditions of Hollywood film noir, French Nouvelle Vague or classic texts such as Ibsen’s The Doll’s House or Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage may be the starting point. On set, usually the street or a public place, and almost exclusively using available light, amidst sometimes hundreds of passers-by, in locations such as a tram shelter in Vienna, a piazza in Trieste or a library in Oslo, Zanon-Larcher shoots at the precise moment when the essence of the unfolding drama can be captured in a single frame – the gestus - when emotion, thought and gesture unify in a unique moment. Caught in an instant of pensive solitude, his protagonists are on the move, sometimes escaping someone or something, it seems always aware of where they are heading.
With these works, Zanon-Larcher continues his ongoing interest in performance, artifice and the construction of female identity in visual culture, which he has already explored in depth in his backstage work within the fashion industry. This has led him to collaborate with Yohji Yamamoto, Alexander McQueen, Dries van Noten, Martin Margiela and Haider Ackerman, amongst others: designers who broadly eschew conventional expressions of female identity or at least challenge it. There is a clear link between this and Falling: A Part – the shots are constructed as narratives with models caught unawares and un-posed. Zanon-Larcher’s work has been exhibited at Mode Museum, Antwerp, The Leonardo da Vinci Museum Milan as well as in galleries in Warsaw, London and Tokyo.
25 January – 16 March 2013
Wapping Project Bankside, London SE1, United-Kingdom
Works courtesy to the artist and the gallery.