Two simultaneous exhibitions dedicated to the creativity and elegance of Sarah Moon’s artwork are on in Milan. It’s a golden opportunity to soak up the suspended-in-time atmosphere of her photos on display in From One Season to Another at the Armani / Silos and in Time at Work at the Galleria Sozzani.
Right here, in the hearth of the Milan Fashion and Design Districts, her work unfolds intensely, the viewer just flowing into the gentle whirl of fascinating colors and shapes, that suggest a deeper reading of reality.
With more than 170 small to large-scale images, both in colour and black and white (plus short films), From One Season to Another at Armani / Silos is the first exhibition of its size dedicated to Sarah Moon in Italy. Covering four decades, from the mid-seventies to the present, it is curated by the artist herself, and features Moon’s iconic fashion imagery mixed with lesser known photos, like a dance series (datig back to the ‘90s) inspired by Oscar Schlemmer and shown for the first time all together.
L’Oeil de la Photographie, interviewed Sara Moon on the occasion of From One Season to Another, asking her about the original layout she adopted for her exhibition at Armani / Silos, that results in a quite interesting mixing of themes and chronological order.
“Exhibitions are finally like installations, each place dictates a way of showing, and group photos through themes – whatever name I give to them. I always like to mix fashion with pictures from my personal work”. Indeed the show follows a distinct and poetic stream of consciousness for Moon believes in narratives that viewers can decipher at will by associating images. Kind of a poem whose verses are pictures (Ed.).
The outfitting of the exhibition enhances the extraordinary intensity of color in your photos. How do you manage to combine it with their enjoyable softness?
“I don’t really know how to answer. I know I choose the backgrounds in function of what I have to photograph, especially in studio. Some are done through mirrors, some are done through polaroid film”
Abstraction and dreamlike atmosphere: how can an observer decide where reality ends?
“That’s the question I am asking myself sometimes. As for me it is real”
Black and white or color: are they a sign for emotions or the best fit for a particular issue?
“I suppose both. Even though I always feel they are 2 different languages, color and Black & White.
Emotion should be translated in both, when it works”
Do you work in a different way for your fashion shoots and the ones of nature?
“In my fashion I work with a team. The ones of nature, most of the time, I am alone”
Her images seem to blend into evanescence and echoes from an enchanting time. “Timelessness and elegance: this is what fascinates me about the work of Sarah Moon. We are kindred spirits and I have had the pleasure of working with her, discovering a mutual proclivity for simplicity that gets the strongest effect”, Giorgio Armani says, adding that “her images dialogue wonderfully with the raw solidity of the space” (the Armani / Silos, Ed.). An empathy that is well shared by the artist, as Moon points out: “I have always appreciated his timeless Couture. We both enjoy the challenge of doing more, with less, and of working with or without color”.
Time is a central issue also for the exhibition Sarah Moon. Time at Work, at the Fondazione Sozzani venue. Ninety photographs, along with a documentary (about the artist Lillian Bassman) and a short, visually convey the artist’s path from the mid-nineties to the present.
Photographing is an endless process of discovering and understanding, as it become clear when looking at these very images. As Sarah Moon herself says: “Time at Work. This is the story of time passing; how time erases. Here and now, this story I tell is not totally mine, but the story of these photographs before they disappear. It is time at work. By chance I found these positives of Polaroids I didn’t fix, some were unexpected, others just spoiled, many erased little by little. I have gathered them here today, with some recent works”.
With the evanescent look of her pictures, she evokes sensations from an imaginary reality, filtered by the memory and the unconscious, thereby allowing a quite interesting and unusual way of seeing the world.
Paola Sammartano is a journalist specialized in arts and photography based in Milan, Italy
Sarah Moon. From one season to another
From 19 September 2018 to 6 January 2019
Via Bergognone 40, Milan
Sarah Moon. Time at Work
Galleria Carla Sozzani, Fondazione Sozzani
Corso Como 10, Milan