For the season opening 2018/19, Bildhalle presents a solo exhibition of Paolo Pellegrin, one of the most important photo journalists of our times. His latest series, exhibited here for the first time, presents the stunning natural beauty of the antarctic ice shield, which is simultaneously a site of human-made crisis. The large-scale works on display portray a seemingly intact environment, but at closer observation reveal the eminent danger of being lost to global warming. Pellegrin photographed the antarctic ice fields and glaciers from within a surveying airplane, that is NASA’s annual IceBridge aerial expedition, on their observational flights across the frozen continent, a first for any photographer. Taken from an altitude of only 300-500 meter, this offered the photographer a totally new perspective of Antarctica, resulting in never before seen, detailed and spectacular aerial photographs.
These images by Paolo Pellegrin demonstrate how an almost untouched landscape is yet about to disappear due to our industrial activities elsewhere and reminded us, once more, that environmental crises know no borders. And this is where he draws on his extensive experience as a MAGNUM photographer, having covered many sites of catastrophes, wars and crises. While normally being up-close and embedded, in this personal assignment he steps back to present us with—literally—a bigger picture of a less tangible event: a conflict without noise and visible victims. Yet, a conflict that impacts all of us.
On the other hand, the fact that Pellegrin often photographed this vast white landscape with its icy patterns of cracks and snowy textures without a horizon line calls to mind Alfred Stieglitz’ “Equivalents” from a century ago, which are often referred to as the first true abstractions in modern photography. This combination of abstract beauty with the looming destruction elevates Pellegrin’s work to something more than mere visual documents.
For more information: www.bildhalle.ch/paolo-pellegrin-antarctica/
Stauffacherquai 56 8004 Zurich Switzerland
August 29, 2018 to September 29, 2018