Re-Emerging: three female artists and two female scientists explore lockdown in Venice in an immersive exhibition

The exhibition Re-Emerging, from March 1 to 13, 2024, at the Procuratie Vecchie in St. Mark's Square in Venice explores the impacts of lockdown with works by Sophie Fauchier, Val Masferrer-Oliveira and Gaby Wagner that offer an immersive experience with augmented reality and an interactive photographic map.

Four years after the pandemic that changed the world in 2020, a team of artists and scientists, with the support of CORILA, Consortium for the Coordination of Research Inherent to the Venice Lagoon System, has created Re-Emerging, an international scientific and artistic/photographic project on display at the Procuratie Vecchie in St. Mark’s Square, Venice from March 1-13, 2024. The initiative aims to raise awareness of the effects of lockdown in the Venetian community in the city and the Lagoon by preserving their memory and conveying a message of hope and appreciation for human resilience in difficult situations. The exhibition, featuring works by artists Sophie Fauchier, Val Masferrer-Oliveira and Gaby Wagner, curated by Giovanna Poggi Marchesi, is immersive in nature with the help of augmented reality and an interactive digital photo map accompanied by the sound carpet of noises recorded during the lockdown, when time and hubbub had stopped.

The two environmental scientists fromCa’ Foscari University of Venice, Alice Stocco and Silvia Rova, circulated a questionnaire during the lockdown to collect the negative and positive feelings people were experiencing, inviting them to reflect on their relationship with Nature both individually and collectively. Their analysis parallels the gaze of the three photographers, giving evidence and word to the experiences and proposing with them a more complete description of the lockdown. The imposing beauty of Venice reflected in the canals, the splendid Renaissance palaces and Gothic architecture of the city come alive in Gaby Wagner’s Venice in Silence photographs of the first lockdown in 2020, a riot of light, color and absolute perfection. In sophie fauchier’s introspective shots of 2020 The City of a Hundred Deep Solitudes, the silence of the places, the loneliness of the inhabitants and the abandonment of one of the most idolized cities in the world find their place with extreme delicacy. Goddess of the Lagoon by Val Masferrer-Oliveira from 2020, blurs between reality and dream, recreating a sunken Venice, evoking echoes of the legendary lost city of Atlantis, dreamlike photographs where the ethereal and tangible merge, a poetic vision that becomes a warning about the fragility of this city so exposed to the effects of climate change.

The project also envisions the public’s participation in the collective memory of sending testimonies in the form of digital images of exteriors captured with various technological devices during the period of closure for the pandemic, to elaborate a still image of this time that could and should guide future choices. The short but intense photographic exhibition will then be followed by a virtual exhibition in the landmark website that will remain online until March 2025 when the collection of digital testimonies the project will end with the presentation of the memoir. The press preview and vernissage will be attended by essayist philosopher Pascal Bruckner, author of the essay The Sacred Slippers-On the Escape from the World, which investigates the culture of withdrawal, renunciation of the world, the effect of the pandemic and the potential risk of becoming individuals, albeit always technologically connected, devoid of physical and social interaction.

Re-Emerging is a multidisciplinary project “Which aims to explore the connections between the isolation of people experienced during the lockdown and the observation of Nature, which appeared changed after the abrupt drop in anthropogenic pressure, thus trying to highlight the aspects of adaptation and resilience that emerged from extraordinary circumstances,” stresses Giovanna Poggi Marchesi, Re-Emerging curator.

Gaby Wagner, We Were Like This, Rialto from Venice in Silence (2020)
Gaby Wagner, We Were Like This, Rialto from Venice in Silence (2020)
Val Masferrer-Oliveira, We Dreamed Like This, The Basilica da dea della laguna (2020)
Val Masferrer-Oliveira
, We were
dreaming like this, The Basilica da goddess of the lagoon (2020)
Sophie Fauchier, We felt so, Arsenale da Venezia The city of a hundred deep solitudes (2020)
Sophie Fauchier, We felt this way, Arsenale da Venezia The city of a hundred deep solitudes (2020)

Notes on the artists

Sophie Fauchier specializes in art photography and creates narratives based on her personal experiences. In her travels she has observed and analyzed all stages of a woman’s life. Settled in Venice since 2018, she has devoted all her efforts to portraying the period of the Covid 19 pandemic to highlight the contrasts.

“While the world saw images of dolphins in the canals, the truth about the Venetian lockdown presents a deep loneliness. An old city ruined by mass tourism, Covid 19 has been both a blessing and a doom for Venice. The space to breathe and move freely, for the city has also brought many negatives. The dual personality of Venice prompted me to represent the city through its inhabitants. To push myself beyond postcard-perfect photos of one of the most idolized cities on the planet and show what remains when everyone stops looking,” Fauchier stresses.

Val Masferrer-Oliveira, a Brazilian-Portuguese fine art photographer, is a lover of Venice who decided to move there during the pandemic, seeking a different experience. Goddess of the Lagoon blurs the line between reality and dream. Val turned the empty calli and deserted canals into a warning about the potential consequences of abandoning this fragile city exposed to rapid climate change. The artist tuned into the city’s vibrations during the pandemic, capturing them through Murano glass. This technique allowed her to present a submerged Venice, evoking echoes of the legendary lost city of Atlantis. Through innovation and art, she has created a visual language inviting the viewer to immerse themselves in a world where the ethereal and the tangible merge. Goddess of the Lagoon is a passionate plea to protect Venice’s heritage.

“As you admire these images, become ambassadors for change and sustainable tourism and spread awareness about Venice’s challenges. Together, we can preserve this iconic city, preserving its magic for future generations.” says Oliveira.

Gaby Wagner, photographer, explores the world of Venice and on a photo shoot for Laura di Santillana discovered her passion for glass, becoming its designer since 1999. She lives and works in Venice cultivating both her passions.

“The 2020 Coronavirus and the subsequent lockdown turned Venice into a ghost town. It had remained enchanting and charming, but it had become deserted and the nights desolate and mysterious. I could not resist the temptation to rediscover the city I so loved under this new aspect so magical and extraordinary. For weeks I walked day and night alone through the narrow calli and campi...I felt the need to capture the emotions and images I was seeing. Overwhelmed by the bucolic beauty reflected in the fluid mirrors of the canals, I photographed the enchanting Gothic and Renaissance architecture...The diversity and uniqueness of the facades, all illuminated by an intense blue sky and blinding sunlight. Stillness and perfection everywhere. I wished to share these moments through my images,” Wagner says.

Re-Emerging: three female artists and two female scientists explore lockdown in Venice in an immersive exhibition
Re-Emerging: three female artists and two female scientists explore lockdown in Venice in an immersive exhibition

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