Italian premiere, at the Reggia di Caserta, for Kyle Thompson a young star of American photography. The exhibition is promoted by la Reggia di Caserta in collaboration with aA29 Art Project gallery Milan / Caserta and is sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism and the Municipality of Caserta. The exhibition is completed by a bilingual catalog.
Twenty-six years old, Kyle Thompson has now exhibitions in many countries, publications and awards, including two editions of Vogue Italia’s Photo of the Day.
His is a conceptual photography where people, often himself, and places are combined to stage apparent, surreal, dreamlike situations.
At a very young age he leaves the suburbs of Chicago where he grew up, to discover places where the human is not, or is no longer present: abandoned houses, empty forests, rivers, lakes. He populates these places often designing surreal and bizarre self-portraits set in atmospheres and pregnant places, sometimes looming and at the same time ephemeral. In these contexts the artist explores without external influences his own emotions and the feelings arouse from the setting. He acts on the scene with water, smoke, light effects and objects from his everyday life or history to reinforce the story or guide the observer.
Speaking of his self-portraits: “I needed a way to channel my emotions. I felt that the self-portraits could express them. Without using words. I had a terrible difficulty in relating to people, so I ended up using myself in almost all my photos, spending several hours every day wandering alone through empty forests making myself self-portraits thanks to my camera’s timer ”
“With music, emotions, or with whatever happens in my life I try to inspire myself in everything. I rarely remember my dreams, but sometimes I took photos based on dreams” he says.
And Kyle’s shots speak of dreams, sometimes nightmares, memories and childhood traumas, sensations and emotions with a melancholy and nostalgic taste, which go to stimulate the most intimate part of our unconscious.
The research for environments and sensations pushed him into many different contexts, as a journey through the Eastern Europe, searching his ancestors places.
In the last series of photos Ghost Town (2015) Kyle explores an abandoned and flooded city; fragments of life and childhood memories come together in melancholy and introspective shots in which the water, which surrounds the city, represents the child’s childhood depression and the only material capable of altering and distorting reality to the point of making us recognise in it. As in a dream journey Kyle guides us through the shadows, lights and soul of these places, apparently empty but full of memories for the people who used to live there.
Delicate and strong at the same time, Kyle’s photographs are able to leave us breathless. Despite their surreal nature, these images – gathered in his Somewhere Else – tell us about near and real emotions in which it is easy to see and recognise better ourselves.
For Caserta, Kyle Thomson has created a specific project. The exhibition conceived for the Reggia explores – the curator affirms – “the context and the environment that surrounds its images”.
“The artist is interested in the relationship between urban environment and nature: living in a large American metropolis, he feels the urgency to search for natural, non-anthropized spaces to create his work”.
Thompson considers natural space as a sort of a stage in which a slight shift of the lens would destroy the illusion and unveil the true setting. The project he designed for this exhibition wants to change our prospective on the relationship between urban space and nature.
Consequently, the images are conceived in diptychs: a larger one will always be a self-portrait of the artist immersed in these natural spaces within urban areas, the smaller image instead will break the illusion and show the true environment in which this “nature” is immersed. The interest is not only to highlight how the urban landscape changes nature but also how some, even if small, portions of nature manage to remain immutable.
“So great to be able to create artificially a moment that never existed. Something that is so real, but invented. You can create a moment that never happened, but that continues to live in its own immutable state, and it’s a creative feeling that I love, “says Thomson.
KYLE THOMPSON, Open Stage
Curated by Gabriela Galati
Reggia di Caserta
28 March – 4 June 2018
Press Preview: Wednesday 28 March, 5.00 pm
Opening: Wednesday, March 28th, 5.30pm
Further information and images: www.studioesseci.net