With the installation of the 14 photographs in Voyager, Silvio Wolf leads gallery visitors on a metaphorical journey enveloping the full range of photographic capabilities, weaving in and out of representation and abstraction. Beginning with an aerial view of seats at Milan’s famous opera house, La Scala, Wolf signals that we are entering a world of theater and narrative. But the gallery visitor is not merely passive viewer. Rather than rooted in our chairs, Wolf’s photo suggests we have transcended our assigned place, and are active performers. Indeed, photography as medium and structure are at the heart of Wolf’s ongoing discourse. The ability of the medium to record and present information takes center stage, and necessarily light serves as the nominal content. The resultant forms play in abstraction, teetering on recognizable shapes and textures, ultimately articulating a meta-photography. A Rothko-esque panel finds the exquisite beauty in the striations of film leader — normally discarded on the darkroom floor, but here elevated to a higher status that is conceptual as well as perceptual. As the association with Rothko suggests, Wolf’s work is never purely about structural exercises, but is grounded by the human and the emotional. Each photograph rivals the scale of the body, and in the glassy reflection of each piece the viewer is brought into the unfolding drama of the image, an effect reminiscent of Michelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror paintings. The metaphorical journey of Voyager ends with a return to definable subjects: a tree in the morning mist, perhaps other voyagers ahead in the fog. Through the rhythms of appearance and disappearance, Wolf’s theater of light investigates the epistemological potential of image-making, embracing the thresholds where the visible becomes manifest.
Silvio Wolf was born in Italy in 1952. Wolf has been exhibiting internationally for over 25 years, engaging mediums ranging from photography and film to public installations. His work was featured at Documenta 8, and is included in numerous public collections. The artist lives and works in Milan, Italy.