Nadja Massün’s work is a good example of a sensitivity that subsumes and forgets about the technique in a perceptual and intuitive search to reveal, first of all, the human, the spiritual world of its subjects and from which the experience of the beautiful emerges. The photographic moment becomes a moment of revelation. We see in the photos of Nadja a word in the air, a sound of laughter, a wink among friends and the sadness behind a look.
The photographer’s action thus becomes a dialogue with her surroundings, with her visual object, which is almost invariably constituted by people in everyday or festive situations, dramatic or peaceful, but always communicative. The image that has been expressed clearly tells us what is happening in that moment lost forever. These are images not only eloquent, but full of openness: the only value they convey is the poetic content of reality, which manifests itself when there is a sensitive look to hear it and penetrate its ephemeral essence.
Her work of years in community settings, allows her to perceive and understand, above cultural, geographical, linguistic differences, intimacy, unsaved yearnings, contained sadness and people’s joy.
Nadja Massün is indeed a great traveler – born in the Congo and raised in Colombia, Peru, Geneva and Costa Rica – but above all a traveler of close encounters, for whom it is vital to merge into the environment, participate, listen, soak up of that alternate reality to which the trip exposes it. She takes advantage of her sensitive cosmopolitanism to explore the roots of human feelings in places as dissimilar as Transylvania, Oaxaca or New York. The photographs in which a child watches with amazement the transformation of his father into a “Minga” (one of the characters in the famous Dance of the Devils, in Oaxaca) are very revealing, as an “exotic” and unusual action is taken back to everyday life because it’s being framed through the boy’ s “third gaze”, who in spite of the strangeness places us in a familiar and quotidien environment. Same remark, in another image, we see the glances between musicians of Transylvania, walking with their violins under their arms and with an attitude of lightness and simplicity that exonerates them from all folklorism.
Massün’s portraits are a sample of how to take everyday life to a higher level. The casual pose, an embroidery casually placed on the face, a languid backlight that makes us think of an unoccupied afternoon are many other elements of everyday life that, taken advantage of by a sharp eye, become true classic paintings, making us feel the calm and imperishable atmosphere of a portrait of Van Eyck or Bonnard.
Itinerancy is one of the keys to this encounter with beauty.
Nadja Massün : Intimate Universe
September 19 – October 27, 2019
Robert Capa Contemporary Center
Capa 8F Gallery
1065 Budapest Nagymezo utca 8