We are pleased to present the exhibition The Ghost in Between, in which the New York based artist, Janaina Tschäpe, shows her most recent film. Produced in Amazonia and presented as a double projection, the work focuses on the romantic outlook towards a world to be explored of the 18th- and 19th-century scientific journeys.
The practice of video and photography is parallel to that of painting and drawing in Tschäpe’s poetics. The different media are constantly influencing each other. Within these four fields, over the years, the artist has resorted various times to mythology and literature in counterpoint to the discoveries of science in order to create fantastic beings, fictitious plants and cells, in a universe where the real and the imaginary coexist.
The film’s title alludes to the playful custom of the inhabitants of the Upper Amazon River to look for ghosts in photographs. According to them, the ghost is in the fringe between the edge of the riverside vegetation and its reflection in the river. For the indigenous people who make up the basis of the local population, the invisible world is as real as the visible one, and this informs the rich and hybrid Amazonian mythology.
The Ghost in Between proposes a subjective journey by flirting with the romantic idea of the search for the unknown. We see a woman navigating through the landscape, reflected in a motionless and mirrored Rio Negro. The image becomes abstract, like the symmetric splotches of a Rorschach psychological test, and the known world thus opens a space for the existence of mystical beings. The woman metamorphoses into a girl and into a creature, and returns to being a woman. There are scenes peopled by children and anthropomorphic beings that sometimes remain motionless, as in ethnographic documents, and sometimes interact with nature in scenes juxtaposed to the landscape sequences.
In an ambiguous narrative, at times bordering on the exploration of the exotic, the artist subverts and precisely questions the place of the observer and the observed. The imaginary and fantastic world, steeped in a veiled naive romanticism leads us to a place where nothing can in fact be defined, the place where ghosts dwell.
Janaina Tschäpe was born in Munich, Germany, in 1973. Her solo shows have most notably included Quimera at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), 2008; and in 2009 at the Triennial of the International Center of Photography, New York, and at Kasama Nichido Art Museum, Japan. She has participated in group shows at MAC USP, São Paulo; MAM, Rio de Janeiro; LiShui Museum of Photography, China; New Museum, New York; Guggenheim Museum, New York; and other venues. Her work figures in important collections such as those of Itaú Cultural, São Paulo, Brazil; Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden; Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporânea, Minas Gerais, Brazil; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; and Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sophia, Madrid, Spain.