For a period of 18 months, Alec Von Bargen travelled to 23 Médecins Sans Frontières projects in 10 countries. It was there, amongst the protagonists of the unfolding conflicts in each of these contexts that the inspiration for this project was born. The final goal was to create a series composed of photography, installation, video and sound pieces for a museum show and book publication. This is that journey. These are those voices. This is So.lil.o.quy
For eighteen months, Alec Von Bargen travelled to twenty-three Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors Without Borders) missions in ten countries, documenting life amidst unfolding global conflicts. Through interviews, photography, recordings, and video, Von Bargen has illuminated the tapestry of human struggle and perseverance across the globe. At the heart of his work are in-depth observation and dialogue with his environment. The resulting photographs show the inspiration obtained by the artist from the struggles of people for survival and the proximity that comes from humanitarian aid. This monumental effort was undertaken with the help of a group of protagonists including doctors, medical staff, volunteers, patients, victims and everyday people—the cacophony of voices form So.lil.o.quy.
Within the pages of an accompanying 480-page publication (published by Pacific, New York) the countries of Chad, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Mexico, Kenya, Ukraine, Greece, Honduras, and South Sudan are brought to life through photography, correspondence, and soliloquies. Texts bookend the ten countries, including a foreword by Avril Benoit, an interview with Elizabeth Karp-Evans, and an essay by Lynne Roberts-Goodwin. The publication concludes with a series of plates featuring multi-media works that Von Bargen will be exhibiting in 2019 and 2020.
“Alec Von Bargen’s body of work, comprising installation, photographic and temporal works, titled So.lil.o.quy, destabilizes traditional notions of knowledge and representation within visual cultures and methodologies as found in both fields of art and anthropology, attesting to and engaging within a new vision of representational practice, offering a more authentic response to the world. The artist reflects within this work a deep level of humanity more than perhaps politically correct ways of being self-reflexive about the human subject and objects. Von Bargen’s representational practice expands the notion of what it is to be human, to ethically elicit empathy, and to create a discourse of healing and to not reduce it.”
– Lynne Roberts Goodwin
This award-winning series was supported by Médecins San Frontières, The Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Amy Novogratz & Mike Velings, Il Triangolo Galleria D’Arte, Studio Magenis & La Coldana.
Alec Von Bargen (New York) is a social anthropologist of sorts, capturing aesthetic instances resonating true with their historical, political and social contexts. Von Bargen recently exhibited at both the 54th and 56th editions of the Venice Biennale, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the OCT Museum in Shanghai and Les Rencontres D’Arles Festival, amongst others. His work has won numerous awards, the most recent: 2018 International Fine Art Photographer Award in Paris, shortlisted for this year’s Aesthetica Art Prize and the 161 Royal Photographic Society exhibit. Von Bargen is also the visual advisor to the Venice Biennale’s ‘Biennale College Cinema’.
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