FE 2015

Un progetto del Comune di Reggio nell'Emilia
Comune di Reggio Emilia – Città delle persone

  • Night+Fog (Monchegorsk) 4, 2007 © Darren Almond Courtesy Galleria Alfonso Artiaco
    Night+Fog (Monchegorsk) 4, 2007 © Darren Almond Courtesy Galleria Alfonso Artiaco
  • Night + Fog (Monchegorsk)(16), 2007 © Darren Almond Courtesy Galleria Alfonso Artiaco
    Night + Fog (Monchegorsk)(16), 2007 © Darren Almond Courtesy Galleria Alfonso Artiaco
  • Night + Fog (Norilsk)(20), 2007 © Darren Almond Courtesy Galleria Alfonso Artiaco
    Night + Fog (Norilsk)(20), 2007 © Darren Almond Courtesy Galleria Alfonso Artiaco

Darren Almond, Night+Fog


Darren Almond, Night + Fog, are a series of large scale, bromide photographic prints of the dead forests of Siberia. These were taken in Monchegorsk and Norilsk in northern Siberia, above the Arctic Circle, where, between 1935 and 1953, a third of a million prisoners toiled in the Soviet gulag, mining and processing some of the biggest deposits of nickel, platinum, cobalt and copper on the planet.


Today Norilsk is a closed city. It is controlled by the Norilsk Nickel Company, which also controls the world’s market price for this ore, visas are heavily monitored. Over a five year period Almond spent travelling to the nickel mines of Norilsk.

Norilsk has one of the biggest nickel mines in the world. As a bi-product of the smelting process, the mines produce some of the largest amounts of sulphur dioxide on the globe. There’s more acid rain in this town of 150,000 than in North America and Canada. The trees suffer something similar to frostbite. You get these forests of dead, burnt trees in a landscape that's never dry so it's totally incongruous

Almond’s initial interest in Siberia stemmed from his fascination by the exiled Russian poet Joseph Brodskey and the haunting image of an arctic shipwreck in Caspar David Friedrich’s painting “The Sea of Ice”. Although these formal and aesthetic concerns still haunt the work, they form the catalyst to point toward more pertinent issues: the extraction of resources, and how necessary – even desperate – human activity, and the structures it brings forth, are nested within still larger structures and systems that envelop both geopolitical and geostrategic histories. Almond stress this point through the title Night & Fog, a reference to Alain Resnais‘ 1955 film about Auschwitz, Night and Fog.


Adrian Searle, writing in The Guardian said of Almonds work:

“the photographs of dead trees, their trunks like black drawings against the blank snow and the steely sky. It is almost impossible to imagine colour here, or even life itself. Yet the images have a final, calligraphic beauty. They are a sort of writing of the end of the world.”

The devil in the detail, The Guardian

Darren Almond’s works exhibited here are part of the group exhibition No Man Nature.


Exhibition curated by Elio Grazioli and Walter Guadagnini
Works by Darren Almond, Enrico Bedolo, Ricardo Cases, Pierluigi Fresia, Stephen Gill, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster e Ange LecciaMishka Henner, Amedeo Martegani, Richard Mosse, Thomas Ruff, Batia Suter, Carlo Valsecchi, Helmut Völter


The approach chosen for the No Man Nature exhibit is to explore the topics of ‘nature without man’ and ‘man without nature’, suggesting a heuristic reflection flowing from two opposite extremes. These extremes no longer mean just the unexplored, the unknown, the invisible and the unimaginable, but actually imply the possibility of a world no longer inhabited by man and, at the opposite end, of man’s invention of a world no longer inhabited by nature. These possibilities can in turn be perceived as dangers: on the one hand, there is the ecological danger of the destruction of nature and the self-destruction of the human species, and on the other, there is the danger of a “technological” euphoria with the attendant isolation of the human being from the world.   And again: sometimes we yearn to live in an unspoilt and deserted natural environment, like a dream of an impossible new beginning, while at the same time we are building a world modelled entirely on the virtual and the imaginary, including a natural world that is equally virtual and imaginary.

Finally, we might argue that if things are, or are going, that way, then there must be a reason for it. Hence, our reflection on extreme cases will also be an inquiry into ‘where we are at’. The exhibit uses images in order to raise these questions, putting forward examples that will urge viewers to ask themselves what their own position is with regard to these questions.

The general idea is always to use photography not as a document and a representation in itself, but as an opportunity in terms of the questions it elicits and its thought-provoking power. The issues raised about the man-nature relationship thus also become a metaphor of the role and function of photography.


Darren Almond, born in 1971 at Wigan, UK. Lives and works in London.

Darren Almond’s work tackles the concepts of time and travel, as well as the themes of personal and historical memory, through evocative reflections translated into videos, installations, sculptures and photographs.

Time, explored in all its different conceptions, becomes a key and recurring feature of the British artist’s studies. This has been true from his first solo show in 1995 entitled “A Real Time Piece”, a video showing his empty studio with a digital clock on the wall that amplified the passing of each minute, through to “Tide”, an installation in which 600 perfectly aligned digital clocks covering the entire surface of the wall recorded the passing of time in unison.

Many of Almond’s works grow out of his ability to reach into inaccessible and remote geographical areas such as the Arctic Circle, Siberia, China’s holy mountains and the source of the Nile.

In Indonesia the artist follows a miner during a day’s work, extracting sulphur from the inner rim of a crater and carrying it all the way down the steep slope of the volcano, creating “Bearing”, a video shot with a high-definition camera.

In “Schacta”, Almond filmed the activities of a tin mine in Kazakhstan and set them against an evocative soundtrack, a field recording of the performance of a local musician/shaman.

Other works explore more personal themes: “Traction” is an ambitious three-screen projection portraying the artist’s father whilst revealing the artist’s own concern about the passing of time.

A similar intimacy is evoked in the video-installation “If I Had You”, short-listed for the Turner Prize (2005): a sensitive portrait of his grandmother, and his youthful reminiscences narrated through four mutually interacting videos.

In “Terminus”, Almond negotiated the relocation of the original bus stop in the town of Oświęcim (Auschwitz in German) in order to create a moving installation about historical loss.

All these themes, including time and travel in particular, also feature prominently in his series of landscape photographs entitled “Fullmoon”, begun in 1998. Almond captures the full moon in various parts of the world, using fifteen-minute long exposures.

These peculiarly beautiful images seem almost unreal: the landscapes appear to be bathed in a surprisingly translucent light so that night seems to have turned into day.

In 2014 Taschen Books published a substantial photo-book dedicated entirely to his Fullmoon series.

Main solo exhibition: Art Tower Mito, Japan (2013), Sala Alcalá 31, Madrid, Château Gallery, Domaine Régional de Chaumont-sur-Loire (2012); The High Line, New York, Villa Merkel, Esslingen, L’Abbaye de la Chaise Dieu, Chaise Dieu; Frac Haute-Normandie, Rouen e FRAC Auvergne, Clermont Ferrand (2011), Parasol Unit (2008), SITE Santa Fe (2007), Museum Folkwang, Essen (2006), K21, Düsseldorf (2005), Kunsthalle Zürich (2001), Tate Britain (2001), De Appel (2001) and The Renaissance Society, Chicago (1999).
Main collective exhibition: Helmhaus, Zurich, 6th Biennale da Curitiba e Miami Art Museum (2011), MAC/VAL, Vitry-sûr-Seine, (2010), the Tate Triennial, Tate Britain and Frac Lorraine, Metz (2009), Moscow Biennale (2007), The Turner Prize, Tate Britain (2005), The Busan Biennale (2004), Biennale di Venezia (2003), Berlin Biennale (2001), ‘Sensation’ (1997-1999).


Saturday, May 16_11am_Teatro Cavallerizza


No Man Nature: Diane Dufour, Elio Grazioli and Walter Guadagnini with Enrico Bedolo, Pierluigi Fresia, Mishka Henner, Carlo Valsecchi, Helmut Völter. Book signing to follow

exhibition venue

Palazzo da Mosto
via Mari, 7
42121 Reggio Emilia


opening hours

• during the inaugural days
05/15 › 7pm - midnight
05/16 › 10am - midnight
05/17 › 10am - midnight
• from May 22 to July 26 the exhibits are open from friday to sunday
Friday › 4pm-11pm
Saturday › 10am-11pm
Sunday-holidays › 10am-8pm


Palazzo da Mosto