SALZBURG.- Since his participation in the 51st Venice Biennale in the Swiss pavilion, Marco Poloni is considered to be an important representative of the Swiss contemporary arts scene. For his first solo exhibition in Austria the Fotohof will show three new works by the artist, who lives and works in Berlin and in Chicago. In his work the artist explores the deep anchorage of images from mass-media photography and cinema in collective memory, and their oscillation between reality and their representation as mediated by the camera. His image dispositifs, that often have their origin in present-day events, draw the viewer in a story world, in which the boundaries between document and fiction coalesce. Recurrently, he draws his themes from contemporary history, producing large and poetic sets of associatively sequenced images.
In his present exhibition work "Persian Gulf Incubator," the starting point was a found amateur photograph from the 1970s. It shows a woman waving farewell amid a group of passengers on the Italian luxury liner T/S Raffaello in the harbor of New York. This photograph encountered by chance provides the backdrop for an (also autobiographically motivated) investigationin his childhood Poloni actually took this ship from New York to Naplesthat climaxed in a stealthy survey trip the artist took to the Iranian nuclear compound of Bushehr, which is a primary target point of current US warmongering. The result is a large medial wall installation that inexorably generates a dramatic scenario.
In the second work produced for the show, "The Sea Rejected Me," the artist addresses the (re-) construction of a (personal) narrative in the context of nuclear proliferation. The traceless disappearance on open sea of the reputed Italian atomic physicist Ettore Majorana in 1938 lies at the heart of a film installation which takes its cue in the finding of a B&W film at a dealer for cinema equipment in Teheran. This document shows a man who bears a certain resemblence to Majorana. The discovery opens a new field for speculations about his yet unexplained vanishing. Here too, through intensive research, the artist attempts to create references to life patterns, which in their medial context develop a highly complex visual language. The third work produced for the exhibition, "The Sea of Majorana" showsas it werea radioactive seascape sequence filmed at dusk. The ambient radioactivity pierces the film material. A voice reads in off a scientific essay written by Majorana. The film is anchored in an unspecified, post-atomic blast future. It provides a dismal meditation on the new atomic age.
This exhibition, conceived together with the Museum für Photographie in Braunschweig finds a further extension in May, where the artist will show another work, which will also exist in book form. In "Displacement Island" Poloni takes us to the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, a touristic paradise in which our wealthy society is confronted with the destitute of the world, namely, stranded migrants from Africa.