‘Some images are unforgettable. Such as the scene with Alain Delon, Romy Schneider and Jane Birkin standing in mourning dressat the edge of a pool, looking down, silently united in the ritual of mourning, but preoccupied with their own harrowing thoughts. This is the closing scene of ‘La Piscine’ (The Swimming Pool), Jacques Deray’s film—a stylish psychological drama, a Freudian hall of mirrors that is set in high-society circles on the Côte d’Azur in the late 1960s.’ Christopher Doswald
Francesca Maffeo Gallery is pleased to present ‘Somnium’ by Swiss Photographer Gian Paul Lozza. This solo exhibition isshowing for the first time in the UK and includes new and unseen works.
Lozza’s series is an attempt at a typology. So there are no living creatures to be seen in the photographs, nor is there the slightest sign of any active movement. The pictures are mute, silent and frozen in the subdued nocturnal low-light. And yet they reveal some traces of civilisation: a faintly lit window in a backyard (‘Backyard’), two barrels on a platform (‘Barrels’), a visitor’s ramp on the glacier tongue (‘Glacier’), a stratified pile of dead wood at the edge of a forest (‘Wood Pile’).
Lozza calls his landscape photographs ‘Metascapes’, providing a further allusion to a cultural-historical reference system that includes the landscape painting of the 19th century. Lozza photographs exclusively at night in order to focus in on the structural visual objects. The colours therefore generate a pallid impression that leads to a painterly haziness. Associations are generated here to the imposing, almost abstract evening pictures of the Romantic William Turner, whose engagement with landscape has permanently changed how we represent the experience of nature. Gian Paul Lozza’s enigmatic visual worlds also involve changes in perception: his unpopulated landscapes certainly flirt with the concept of beauty but they insistently demand an engagement both with immediately existing realities and with photographic and cultural realities.
‘Somnium’ is a subject that has resonances of Deray’s chamber drama at the poolside, this glamorous and yet profound film concentrated into a single moment that has become an enduring image.
(This text is an extract from an essay written by Christopher Doswald)