Focus on women. Focus on men. Without Women highlights the nowadays ‘other’ sex. And shows a way of life very few of us would otherwise experience or know about.
Three large video works portray scenes of the lives of traditional shepherds in the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine: The milking of the sheep in heavy rain; the intimate and casual relation between human and animal, shepherd and sheep. A shepherd in his hood, preparing milk to cheese; his heavy work and gestures, stern and concentrated look. Cheese truckles, milk drops in a bowl. Seen from a female Western perspective: Entirely male scenes with an entirely female material.
The movies are of exceptional quality. The slowness of the images transmits the emotion of what is being shown. The prosaic installation of the bare rooms and quiet courtyard resemble a monastery, just as the shepherds’ existence recalls the life of monks with its isolation, ritual, and self-denial. The installation is enriched by vague smells relating to the scenes. All together laying bare a strange poetic.
The original concept of the exhibition included large-scale photography investigating the production and symbolism of milk in the Carpathian Mountains. Currently, only the three video works are being shown.
Quoting from the exhibition’s Press Release: “The exhibition in Venice will be presented in two parts due to difficulties faced with shipping elements of the work from war-torn Ukraine. …Part two of the exhibition will open one month after the current hostilities in Ukraine have ended.”
By now, three months have passed, two are left for a timely shipping before the exhibition’s closure. Perhaps a monastery retreat offers a way for the responsible to find clarity.
The exhibition for sure does.