May 29, 2006 - Centre pour l'image contemporaine, Saint-Gervais Geneva - Salla Tykkä / Daniel Schibli
May 29, 2006

Salla Tykkä / Daniel Schibli

© Salla Tykkä, Zoo, 2006

Salla Tykkä

Daniel Schibli

Centre pour limage contemporaine
Saint-Gervais Genève
5, rue du Temple
1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Salla Tykkä

I have wondered about the way people see their lives. If you close your eyes and then use your memory, its like a film.

Zoo, Salla Tykkäs latest film, resembles her previous ones in that the piece tells an enigmatic tale that keeps us on the edge of our seats, points to a referenced film genre whose codes are commonly used, magnifies the gaze, and in the process offers us singularly beautiful images. What strikes one as well, both in the trilogy Cave and Zoo, is the absence of any dialog, the emotional force of the music, and the fact that the principal role goes to a female figure who alone changes her behavior over the course of the film while the other characters go about their business, seemingly indifferent or absorbed by what they are doing.
Zoo takes place in a zoo, that half-wild half-constructed setting that is both untamed and controlled. A woman wearing her blonde hair in a bun, dressed in a dark pantsuit and wielding a camera, plunges into this territory and its strange character. The camera follows her and the views are often shot through fencing, nets, or glass panes, or are framed by gates. The music composed for the film instantly creates a certain tension, a suspense that is reinforced by the movements of the film camera, which is dramatically echoed by the still camera. This duality is a component of the film.

Tykkä knows popular genres like the western, the thriller, or science fiction, and admirably distills the atmospheres and emotions that are peculiar to these typologies, projecting us into their worlds in a few deft minutes. She draws on the genres vocabulary and especially reworks the rhythm against which she determines her camera movements and the length and framing of her scenes, and bases her pieces on the one element that directly aims for our emotions, namely, music. Thus, if Lasso borrows from the western, Thriller from the horror film, and Cave from science fiction, Zoo clearly refers to the films of Alfred Hitchcock, their atmosphere, share of unresolved mysteries, and female characters (the blonde woman is based on Kim Novak and Tippi Hedren).

Tykkä therefore highlights a certain way of seeing, which she couples with an epiphany. The conscious presentation of the gaze and its iconographic attributesthe reflecting surfaces, the window, the lensstructure the storys progress while referring to a series of dualities, i.e., the opposition of the outside and inside worlds, or that of seeing and being seen, etc., which determines its interpretation. These dual contexts create the dynamics of the transformation. From one film to the next the female figures evolve, change the gaze they turn on those around them, and in return modify the perception and image they have of themselves. They acquire an individual freedom, which is moreover confirmed by the liberties they all take with respect to the story that ought to be unfolding, displacing ones expectations vis-à-vis the supposed content of the piece, ready to meet the challenge of a new role.

The exhibition will present the work Zoo and project the trilogy Cave (Lasso, 2000, Thriller, 2001, Cave, 2003)


Daniel Schibli is a multifaceted artist who seems to have a hand in every medium. His work often blends photography, video, sculpture, performance, even painting.

His approach to photography confronts us with an essential question, i.e., our relationship with nature and the landscape.

In this domain, Schiblis world is entirely made by hand thanks to a series of altogether rudimentary basic materials like cardboard, paper, and wood, but also earth, sand, and water. He approaches the possibilities offered these days by information technologies from a different uncommon direction and produces artificial landscapes that refer to unconscious inner worlds rather than reality. In these worlds Schibli has also made short video films in which his work is truly that of a puppeteer. The settings he creates become the theater of short amusing sketches between characters made of paper or cotton brought to life by the artists own gestures and voice.

For his first exhibition in French-speaking Switzerland, Daniel Schibli will present at the Center for the Contemporary Image a collection of some ten photos, including four new ones produced between 1999 and 2006, along with an oil painting and five short films made between 1992 and 2004.

Centre pour l'image contemporaine, Saint-Gervais Geneva
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