exhibition and site specific installation at Micamera, March 11 – April 22
Workshop: Image, Text & Powers of Observation March Saturday 11 and Sunday 12
Sonata is an extensive body of photographic work made by Aaron Schuman throughout Italy over the last four years. First published as a critically-acclaimed monograph in 2022 (MACK) (which you can find here), it draws inspiration from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Italian Journey (1786–1788), and both pursues and studies what Goethe described as “sense-impressions”, reiterating many of the introspective questions that Goethe asked himself during his own travels through Italy: “In putting my powers of observation to the test, I have found a new interest in life…Can I learn to look at things with clear, fresh eyes? How much can I take in at a single glance? Can the grooves of old mental habits be effaced? This is what I am trying to discover.”
Rather than attempting to capture and convey an objective reality, Sonata is consciously filtered through the many mythologies, idealisations, fascinations and fantasies associated with the country, and what it has represented in the imaginations of countless travellers who have visited it over the course of centuries. Schuman himself – first alongside his parents, and then with his wife and children – has developed a lifelong, visceral, almost primal connection to Italy; one that is admittedly and very clearly that of a foreigner, but is nevertheless strong, insightful, profoundly heartfelt, and deeply personal. Through Sonata, Schuman invites us to explore an Italy as much of the mind as of the world: one soaked in the euphoria and terror, harmony and dissonance of its cultural and historical legacies, and yet constantly new, invigorating, and resonant in its sensorial and psychological suggestions.
Micamera is honoured to present an exhibition and site-specific installation of Sonata, conceived and realised in collaboration with the artist himself. Alongside many beautiful prints, it also includes selections from Schuman’s intriguing collection of unique objects, photographs and ephemera that have informed this work, and extends into a curated selection of books drawn from Micamera’s own shelves.
Do you know the land where lemons trees bloom,
Where oranges glow like gold in a dark leafy gloom…
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1796