I’m in Stockholm and have the afternoon off. Facebook tells me there’s a new exhibition by British photographer Nick Brandt at Fotografiska. I’ve seen his wildlife photos before, but I have never seen anything like his news series, “Inherit the Dust.”
Brandt has developed life-size prints of his fantastic animal portraits, glued them to huge aluminium and plywood panels, and carefully placed these in polluted, abused and dystopian parts of Africa, where animals once roamed freely and lived in harmony.
The panels were left long enough for the inhabitants to stop paying attention to them, after which Brandt captured the scenes as black-and-white panoramas through the lens of his medium-format Mamiya RZ67 Pro ll.
The most poignant panorama shows a family of elephants beneath a road, next to a group of homeless and glue-sniffing kids, juxtaposed to a billboard (in the horizon) of a man relaxing in a park with the text “lean back, your life is on track.”
Brandt’s “ghost animals” are a stark reminder of what poaching, climate change and capitalism actually put at stake here. Together with the marginalised, poor people living in these places, they are the victims of our destruction of nature.
I buy a copy of Brandt’s book, make a donation to the Big Life Foundation and leave the exhibition feeling embarrassed and hopeless. I wish that parents bring their kids to Fotografiska. They need to see this now, and I bet you: they don’t want to inherit the dust.
Take a look at this fabulous tinkly musical puffer fish we found at Art Geneva 2016.
We found this great shaking zombie at Art Geneva 2016.
There’s a buzz going on at Geneva’s Place des Nations. I go and snap some photos of Davide Dormino‘s powerful bronze installation entitled “Anything to Say?” It’s only here for a few days. Do you recognise these three beautifully sculpted figures with their calm and determined faces? For sure, you’ll know their names! They are the three most widely known whistle-blowers of all time: Edward Snowden, Julian Assange and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning.
They stand on chairs facing their fate. They wear impersonal one-piece suits. Does this mean they are in prison? Maybe you think all three should be in prison? (Manning already is.) Maybe they are modern-day knights in shining armour come to save us all?
Dormino says the installation “is a monument to the courage of three people who said no to the establishment of comprehensive monitoring and lies, and have chosen to tell the truth.” His work is placed in front of “Broken Chair.” An empty chair on the right of the whistle-blowers transmits a challenge: “Come and stand up here with us! Do you have anything to say?” I’m reminded of the scene in “Dead Poet’s Society” when the pupils, by standing on their desks, show solidarity with their unorthodox teacher whose mantra is “make your lives extraordinary.” I really want to stand on that chair and shout what I think. But then…. Am I brave enough?