Voyages (en train): a solo show at VisionQuest – Genoa, Italia


Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli

“Voyages (en train)”

Curator: Clelia Belgrado

VisionQuesT gallery is pleased to begin the 2013/2014 season by presenting “Voyages (en train)” by Amandine Nabarra – Piomelli. The opening reception on Friday 4th October is part of START, the event that marks the beginning of the new season for all the art galleries in Genova.

Can travelling by train still be a fascinating experience and not just a way of getting from one place to another? A slow and virtual travel, a philosophy that can give life to a space of a visual narrative that becomes the space itself that contains it and therefore a visual narrative in space?

It can be said that of all the means of transportation, the train is the most suited to thinking: the landscapes that we see out of the windows have nothing of the potential monotony of those seen from a ship or a plane, they move with the speed necessary not exasperate us and with the slowness which allows us to distinguish objects. But a train ride also offers, and almost excessivly so, short but stimulating visual impressions; having precipitated in our visual field, the landscape has not presented itself yet, that it has already eclipsed, as Louis Napoleon Bonaparte noted during a trip to England in 1833. Structures and forms shatter, objects collide and combine in a thousand ways until their complete abstraction. Victor Hugo expressed it well when he explained that “the view from the window of the train at full speed, can be compared to the one that you can have while looking into a kaleidoscope.”

Amandine Nabarra-Piomelli with her sharp, almost instant photographic perception, through her images, or rather her installations and her artist’s books, gives us back that space, and thefore the visual narrative in the space of an impressionistic, arbitrary, fleeting and emotional view of the landscape that flows by from a train window. The passing scenery, does not disappear in the tunnels or the countryside, nor the urban centers, but fades almost into two broad bands of color that are actually the sky and the earth. In addition to the blur, we have the side by side combination and movement of images taken at different times, which instead of a still and single image, are actually appropriate in proportionately expressing movement: the sequential representation of the structure of a train journey.

“Far from the Californian experience of long car trips to which I had grown accustomed, I rediscovered the joys and constraints of European public transportation. It was during one of my many trips from Genoa to Milan and Genoa to Turin that this project was born.

I had taken some photographs and very quickly realized that my pictures were out of sync with the landscape going by the train window. In my memory I had retained a combination of many fragments of images, a phenomenon Benjamin Gastineau called “synthetic glance” and Aldous Huxley defined as “global vision”.

To indicate how fast things were moving I had to call upon the blur of the moving object, as well as typical visual accidents: reflections in the windows, interference from trees, etc. Also, the slow exposure added an unforeseen element to the project, an interplay in which “chance” often determines the image’s framing. After much back-and-forth, a photographic sequence took form where the landscapes’ details disappeared into a blur and form dissolved into color. All that remained was to simulate the train’s movement as well as the fragmentation of the images. The final form of this enterprise is a book of 4 photographs divided in half, with each half mounted on sliding aluminum panels, which, once opened, make a metal “click” as if the images where sliding on a rail.”

In retrospect, what remains of a train trip? “Fleeting impressions” wrote J. Jongkind or “visual states”, according to Degas. “Voyages (en train) ” is an attempt to express these experiences.

Technical Information

• Installation of 10 dypthics composed of: 2 photographs one of which divided in two, ink jet prints on Fuji Baritate paper, – 52,5 cm x 45 cm – and mounted on sliding aluminum panels and brass. Each installation is an edition of 6.
• One installation composed of: 10 photographs, Ink jet prints on Epson Luster paper and mounted on sliding alumuminum panels and brass – 45 cm x 400 cm – Single piece
• Artist book composed of: 4 archival digital prints mounted on aluminum and brass. closed: 13.75 “ x 11.75” – 35 cm x 30 cm open: 50.5” x 11.75” – 127.5 cm x 30 cm A silk box with four openings and a brass closure with the title engraved. Signed and numbered on the colophon inside the left door of the box. Box: 14.5” x 12.75” – 37cm x 32 cm . Prototype: Gianni e Giuseppe Secchi, Luigi Alessandrini, Metal work: Luigi Alessandrini, Box: Floro Caccia

Edition of 4


Born in Bordeaux France, she lives and works between Paris, Los Angeles and Italy.

Her father, who was a photographer, always kept an enlarger in a closet ready to be used.

In 1995 she moves from Paris to California where she becomes immersed in the West Coast art world. She begins experimenting with printing by utilizing various supports like Japanese papers hand coated with albumen or gesso creating very tactile surfaces similar to the human skin. At the same time, Amandine has developed three dimensional presentations of her stories through artist’s books and installations. To the static photographs she brings physical movement creating a tension and allowing an interactive approach. In 2012 was the recipient of the Masquelibros prize in Madrid, Spain. The Gallery Director’s Exhibition Award in Colorado and her book Bernoulli Equation won second place in Familiar Relics in Nashville. She has exhibited in numerous photography and artist’s book shows in the USA, Europe and Australia. Her work is in more than 30 private and public collections like the Le Centre Pompidou – Paris, The Getty Museum of Los Angeles, the Art Institute of Chicago-USA; Bibliotheca Librorum Apud Aritificem Sydney – Australia; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) among others.

Location: VISIONQUEST gallery Piazza Invrea 4 r, 16123 Genova, Italy

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