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Alexandra Navratil

*1978 Zurich, lives and works in Amsterdam and Zurich http://alexandranavratil.com

  • Krakatau 1930/1, 2021
  • Heliogravure
  • Edition of: 12
  • Size of image: 59,70 cm x 39,50 cm
  • Size: 76,00 cm x 55,50 cm
  • Production: Arno Hassler, Moutier
  • CHF 580.00
  • available
  • Inquiry
  • Krakatau 1930/2, 2021
  • Heliogravure
  • Edition of: 12
  • Size of image: 59,70 cm x 39,50 cm
  • Size: 76,00 cm x 55,50 cm
  • Production: Arno Hassler, Moutier
  • CHF 580.00
  • available
  • Inquiry

Two superimposed images form huge cloud formations that spread menacingly over the sea. Formal elements such as the rounded corners of the picture frames, the stains, scratches and other traces suggest at first glance that there is a connection here with older photographic images. In fact, Krakatau 1930/1 and Krakatau 1930/2 are cuttings from a roll of celluloid film held in the archives of the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. The reel is the original physical carrier of the 1930 Dutch expedition film Krakatau, which provides a glimpse into the lives of both native and European inhabitants of the Dutch Indies, the Dutch colony in the Indonesian archipelago at the time. The stills depicted show volcanic eruptions filmed from a boat and the resulting cloud formations. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the selected film locations are scene changes, whereby different film strips were manually glued together. While the splice is clearly recognizable as a bright line on one print, it is only distinguishable by a slight difference in color on the other. In the composition, the formlessness of the clouds contrasts with the clear black grid that frames the individual stills. Likewise, content and form diverge here: The film, which at the time was intended to reflect the imperialist power of the Netherlands, among other things, is today attenuated in its materiality and virtually exposed to slow decay

The examination of the relationship between image carrier and image motif runs like a thread through Alexandra Navratil's work. The question of what belongs to the depicted reality and what to the material image carrier is explored by the artist, for example, in the work Resurrections (2016), in which she worked with X-ray images. On these, pathological phenomena are difficult to distinguish from other traces on the radiograph. Navratil's interest in the material composition and, indeed, decomposition of the image carrier goes hand in hand with an interest in the history of film and photography in early modernism. Her works are based on lengthy research that often leads to groups of works and illuminates a theme from different perspectives and in different media. Related to the edition described here is the series All That Slides, Strikes, Rises and Falls (2015), in which film stills were woven into strips of fabric. The stills also take clouds as their subject, though in addition to volcanic clouds, they also include industrial steam formations and plumes of smoke over oil pits. While the textile work points to analogies in the serial production process of the textile and film industries, the medium of heliogravure chosen here nicely bridges the gap between one of the oldest photographic reproduction processes and early film history. VHTwo superimposed images form huge cloud formations that spread menacingly over the sea. Formal elements such as the rounded corners of the picture frames, the stains, scratches and other traces suggest at first glance that there is a connection here with older photographic images. In fact, Krakatau 1930/1 and Krakatau 1930/2 are cuttings from a roll of celluloid film held in the archives of the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam. The reel is the original physical carrier of the 1930 Dutch expedition film Krakatau, which provides a glimpse into the lives of both native and European inhabitants of the Dutch Indies, the Dutch colony in the Indonesian archipelago at the time. The stills depicted show volcanic eruptions filmed from a boat and the resulting cloud formations. On closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the selected film locations are scene changes, whereby different film strips were manually glued together. While the splice is clearly recognizable as a bright line on one print, it is only distinguishable by a slight difference in color on the other. In the composition, the formlessness of the clouds contrasts with the clear black grid that frames the individual stills. Likewise, content and form diverge here: The film, which at the time was intended to reflect the imperialist power of the Netherlands, among other things, is today attenuated in its materiality and virtually exposed to slow decay

The examination of the relationship between image carrier and image motif runs like a thread through Alexandra Navratil's work. The question of what belongs to the depicted reality and what to the material image carrier is explored by the artist, for example, in the work Resurrections (2016), in which she worked with X-ray images. On these, pathological phenomena are difficult to distinguish from other traces on the radiograph. Navratil's interest in the material composition and, indeed, decomposition of the image carrier goes hand in hand with an interest in the history of film and photography in early modernism. Her works are based on lengthy research that often leads to groups of works and illuminates a theme from different perspectives and in different media. Related to the edition described here is the series All That Slides, Strikes, Rises and Falls (2015), in which film stills were woven into strips of fabric. The stills also take clouds as their subject, though in addition to volcanic clouds, they also include industrial steam formations and plumes of smoke over oil pits. While the textile work points to analogies in the serial production process of the textile and film industries, the medium of heliogravure chosen here nicely bridges the gap between one of the oldest photographic reproduction processes and early film history. VH

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