Los Canarios exhibition brochure
Lands and Faces
The islands have a double identity, they are both land and sea: for the feet they are a tangible landing, and for the eye, with a view from the continent, they are the lands of the sea. Synonyms of remoteness and separation, the islands are crossroads, places of fusion. Each one closes and opens its borders in its own way: through its history, its hospitality, its resistance to external intrusions. It does so through the faces of its inhabitants, bearers of the enigma that every island has. The islands are this, and the Canaries are the islands par excellence.
To scrutinise, to search. Writes Niccolò Tommaseo “ We scrutinise that which is concealed, we search for that which is lost or which has never been seen.” (Dizionario de´sinonimi) Francesca Phillips does all these things: she is the eye which scrutinises while being at the same time the mind that searches. She gazes with the lenses of her camera to pick the hidden signs, to grasp the reality under the encrypted appearance. Meanwhile she asks the camera to suggest what is worth looking for. Questions and paradoxes: will Francesca see things in the same way after she has taken their pictures? And more: who is the first to catch the reality, Francesca or her camera? Perhaps that is the objective to capture what escapes the eye: the photograph allows you to stop and to return to the place where the naked glance has seen a just single unique time. But Francesca doesn’t take pictures to collect souvenirs, or for touristic pleasure. She photographs unobserved, lost in perception realities, images composed in her exploratory enquiries. And that’s what has constantly characterised her work. When, as she recalls, she was admitted into the monastic communities of the Trappists, to take pictures of their white shadows, she gave visual form to an extraordinary enquiry on the silence – Whose silence are you? is the interpretation she suggested for the images. Can silence be represented and known through images? Yes, silence may be rendered by images of the cameras eye, suggesting to go beyond the penumbras of the naves and the cloisters to catch the captivating impalpable quiet. Additionally, unlike the individual eye, photographic images let us see and share what Francesca is trying to know. But if, at the same time as these operations of research, one accompanies them with an aesthetic value, with an exercise in taste, taste of the highest, then that is all the better.