Critics’ Picks

Nyima 191, 2004.


Annelies Strba

Fabian & Claude Walter Galerie
Rämistrasse 18
August 28–October 30

After several sojourns photographing flowers, animals, and architecture, Annelies Strba returns to her favorite subject—her daughters, Linda and Sonja, and their children—for this show of new photographs printed on canvas. Working intuitively, Strba has a greater concern for depicting life’s ebbs and flows (and for producing images of great suggestive power) than for technical perfection. She often focuses so intently on a color that the image loses resolution, its contours melting into shimmering semi-abstraction. The show’s title, “Frances und die Elfen,” (Frances and the Fairies) alludes to British prankster-photographers Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths, who as young girls during World War I created the famous “Cottingley Fairies” pictures. The girls in “Frances und die Elfen” appear appropriately mysterious, often sleeping or lost in a woodland reverie seemingly extracted from a private dreamworld. In a video of the same name, bright light, dark shadow, and strange color combinations produce a wild (and wildly indeterminate) atmosphere. Strba has outlined the contours of an enigmatic, beguiling world.

Translated from German by Emily Speers Mears.