Stieglitz 19

Marie Tomanova

FRAGILE

Opening 20/11 in presence of the artist (from 2 tot 6 pm)

Booksigning New York New York at 4 pm

20/11 – 18/2

Stieglitz19 Antwerp Klapdorp 2 (fri-sat 2 to 6 pm)

Curated by Thomas Beachdel

In her first two books, Young American (Paradigm, 2019) and New York New York (Hatje Cantz, 2021), Marie Tomanova presents a deep and expansive landscape of youth. With selections drawn from these closely related bodies of work, Fragile begins to draw together just one theme, or tendril, that has already been critically conceptualized in terms of connection, place, identity, immigration/emigration, gender, belonging, togetherness, and empathy. Fragility—the notion of our own delicacy as people, or the delicacy of a moment, a feeling, a connection, or a relationship—is an aspect that has not yet been addressed in Tomanova’s work, and yet it is significant and particularly salient at this cultural, political, and economic moment, as terrains shift and disrupt—Coronavirus, Ukraine, global economies, and hate speech/racism (Kanye ). Tomanova’s youth, the co-makers of her photographs, reveal a moment that is just that—a moment, a fragile moment. Still, as a photograph, those delicate moments, that briefest sliver of time, are preserved. That tension between the momentary and the preservation—as a document—is perhaps one of the most intriguing aspects of photography.

 

Stepping beyond this abstract tension of photography and back into Tomanova’s work specifically, the images she presents here allow for an extended meaning. It is a precious thing that images can change and morph over time to allow for an accretion of meaning, like salt crystals forming on rocks in Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty (1970). Images are connective links to follow art historian David Joselit’s thinking (After Art, Princeton, 2013), and they are mutable. To venture deeper into alchemy, and this may be the magic of Tomanova’s images, they are transmutable. The connection and feelings still remain in these images—perhaps they always will—but with time comes change, and so much has changed since these images were created—Kate and Odie have broken up and so have Ellia and Quinn. Moments of youthful love—over—fragile, no longer. Isabel’s elbow has healed, and she too has changed. Kate’s glance in the mirror is just that, a glance. Ester has left the party, and Massima is maybe in Los Angeles now. Aheem’s gaze will shift, and John was in a very bad accident, but he is now ok. All of these connections and states of being that Tomanova reveals to us and allows us to see have changed. They are momentary. They are precious. They are fragile.

Thomas Beachdel