18.05.2020 to 14.08.2020
Opening times of the gallery
Monday to Friday 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
The two Spanish artists Carlos Spottorno and Guillermo Abril have found an original format for their work. They explore the interface between journalism, literature and photographic art. Among others, they publish their work in the Spanish magazine El País Semanal, in the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and in belletristic publications throughout Europe. Furthermore, they exhibit in relevant institutions for creative photography.
In 2016, they published a remarkable report on Europe’s external borders as a graphic novel. This picture story combines subjective eye-witness accounts with facts derived from research and an unusual form of illustrative photography, which has made them internationally famous. The book has already been translated into five languages and appeared in German under the title Der Riss (The Crack) .
For INN SITU, the two artists created a report in words and pictures on the border between Austria and Italy, that is, North and South Tyrol – a border which, in the view of these two southern Europeans, is today an example of successful coexistence at the centre of the European Union, even though it originally resulted from the First World War and the region’s conflict-ridden history.
One of the goals of the series at BTV Stadtforum is to invite outside perspectives on the region and, as a result of this “outside” view, to become freshly aware of what has supposedly been seen, judged and internalised a thousand times. It is an offer to hold these subjective observations as a lens over one’s own opinions on the subject, and to make use of possible divergencies as a stimulus for discourse and reflection.
Carlos Spottorno and Guillermo Abril were scarcely familiar with the region prior to being invited to this project. They researched the geographical, historical and political facts in a classic professional journalistic manner. They selected interviewees and sites, visited some of these on several occasions in the course of the last year, and followed not only their meticulous preparation but also their chance encounters in situ. Extensively informed of the facts, they were open to surprises, alternative points of view and moments of insight in their encounters.
It is an inquisitive, personal, informal and unprejudiced approach to the everyday reality of a region by two European citizens from another country. What is exceptional is the variety of their observations through time and place: from the alpine transition between two climate zones at the time of Ötzi, the Tyrloean Iceman, via the Chinese tourist looking at the Dolomites by means of her Instagram account, to the telltale depths of the geological layers that the Brenner Base Tunnel will plough through. This is how they hit on the fault line, which gives the exposition its title and is the geological term for the collision of rock strata which are, in point of fact, directly beneath the border.
Beyond the here and now
Carlos Spottorno and Guillermo Abril present their observations as a graphic novel – a living interaction between picture and text, a medium that moves between the boundaries of documentation and illustration, between the concrete and the exemplary. The gallery thus turns into a walk-in comic.
Picture stories are usually in the form of drawings. Spottorno’s pictures, however, are photographs and thus always depict specific locations and people. At the same time, he modifies the photos in such a way that they look beyond the subject. This creates an aesthetic of simultaneity, which derives its tension from a journalistic and artistic strategy, from the reality of this place and its worldliness.