Critics’ Picks

Lala Meredith-Vula, Gotovuša, Kosova, 20 July 2018, no.2, 2018, digital photograph giclée print, 44 x 66".


Lala Meredith-Vula

Alberto Peola
29 Via Della Rocca
November 3–December 7

Lala Meredith-Vula’s haystacks seem to share a certain rustic heroism with those of Jean-François Millet, though they do not reflect sunlight like Claude Monet’s. Meredith-Vula has been photographing and creating an archive of these rural structures since 1989, a typological investigation into seriality and aesthetic-formal variety within a family of objects that brings to mind the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher. In this show, curated by Monika Szewczyk, the series is represented by eleven photographs. Each image emphasizes the three-dimensional, sculptural presence and individuality of each haystack, while the black-and-white photography lends them a sense of atemporality. In Gotovuša, Kosova, 20 July 2018, no.2, 2018, an oblong, round-bottomed haystack sits quietly; out of it, a wooden shaft points out like a finger, dynamically skyward. The haystack in Gotovuša lies in a portion of a field in a nondescript countryside, but each photograph is titled with a particular place and moment, namely, the precise historical circumstances of Kosovo, where they all are located. The “Haystacks” series is a document illuminating the country’s geopolitics without overtly recounting it, the anthropological transformations (and resistances) of a rural society. Just as each person has a history in the composition of a collective history, here, each haystack becomes a mute witness to events in this patch of the world.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.