1 / 5       An employ of ‘Jetpack Cayman’ demonstrates the watersport now available on the island. A 2000cc motor pumps up water trough the Jetpack propelling the client out of the water (359US$ for a 30 minutes secession). Mike Thalasinos, the owner of the company quips, ‘the Jetpack is zero gravity, the Cayman are zero taxes, we are in the right place!’ Grand Cayman. Courtesy of the artist. © Paolo Woods & Gabriele Galimberti.

2 / 5       Tony Reynard (on the right) and Christian Pauli in one of the high-security vaults of the Singapore Freeport. Mr. Reynard is the chairman of the Singapore Freeport and Mr. Pauli is the General Manager of Fine Art Logistics NLC, which is based there. They are both Swiss. The Singapore Freeport is one of the world’s maximum-security vaults where billions of dollars in art, gold and cash are stashed. Located just off the runway of Singapore’s airport, the Freeport is a fiscal no-man’s land, where individuals as well as companies can confidentially gather valuables out of reach of the taxman. Singapore. Courtesy of the artist. © Rencontres Arles.

3 / 5       The entrance to the exhibition The Heavens, Annual Report by Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

4 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition The Heavens, Annual Report di Paolo Woods e Gabriele Galimberti. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

5 / 5       During the visit to the exhibition Les paradis, rapport annuel by Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti. © Stefania Biamonti/FPmag.

The Heavens, annual report

The slap in the face you get a few seconds after entering the first room of the exhibition. Low lights, black walls and a series of well lit still life to stand out from the context. Representing products or companies that we all know. What we know less is that most of these realities, typically multinational companies, manages its business from so-called tax havens. Small islands or territorial enclaves not well known to everybody, in which the benefits to those who bring money are so considerable as to attract droves of high class investors.
We talked about a slap in the face because the contrast between the entrance on the first floor of the Palais de l’Archevêché and the next room, separated only by a not too brightly lit short hallway, is considerable. To welcome the visitor after the impressive marble staircase leading to the first floor is a room filled with light and populated by two or three large images of an advertising and fashionable nature. In the first room, however, the tension rises thanks to the darkness that pervades the contrast leaving the pointed lights to highlight the images. The tension rises even more, when you start to read the explanatory panels that accompany the exhibition and you begin to recognise brands and products shown. One really has the feeling of entering a world in which something unclear happens, certainly something not very clean. The well- kept and almost icy tone of the still life sharpens everything making the sensation more vivid. Of course one can say that the curatorship was aimed to impress with special effects (results which were fully met), but the general structure, as we shall see, makes it much more worthy than the choices made.
The exhibition goes on to show a number of realities that accompany the visions of wealth and opulence that distinguish these havens on earth. Once again, however, it is the contrast between the text and the iconic to dominate the scene. The photographs tend to keep the icy aplomb of certain industrial photography or advertising destined for glossy magazines. The construction of the scene reigns and is fully functional in the definition of the hatching of an artificial world. The didactic corpus is really rather impressive, rich in data showing that serious journalistic analysis, in-depth and sustained over time is the basis of this work lasting several years. Exposed with the typical sobriety of Anglo-Saxon journalism that leaves the judgment to the reader after having provided the information to express it.
As you progress through the path the veils tear here and there and the other side of the Havens appears, that of the people on whose skin non-quantified patrimonies were built. Even after finishing the visit, they remain in your eye and mind people like the Filipino prostitute that by day is a maid and earns more in one night than she makes in a month of regular work. She is naked in front of the window of her hotel room, unrecognisable because she is facing the glass, her underwear thrown on the bed, perhaps waiting for a client or perhaps a pause for reflection on her condition, after she has offered her services. She looks, out, at a world which for her is out of reach, which can only be observed on this side of the glass, while the lights of the city of dreams shine far away in the darkness. Out of reach like the stars.
Then there is the man who lives in a kind of hovel in which he can barely enter (and this is not a figure of speech). A kind of coffin closed by a grate where there is barely room to sit and, perhaps, lie beneath an indispensable fan. A little farther in the exhibition, young millionaires show their uninhibited conception of existence... to the coated lens of Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti.
One leaves the exhibition a bit dazed by the images - which with their apparent detachment carry you inside the Havens inaccessible to ordinary mortals - a bit for the amount of data input read on the captions. A great journalistic work with doors that open wide to new languages, which for once does not look like a mere aestheticism end in itself or at the most targeted to captatio benevolentiae of gallery owners and collectors. Of course, many of these images run on the cutting edge of gender and could be placed as such in the pages of a fashion magazine as much as on the walls of a gallery, which however did not prevent the publication of magazines devoted to serious investigative journalism.
This show is really worth going to see, it has definitively reconciled us with Les Rencontres d’Arles 2015. [ S. I. ]

- - -

THE HEAVENS, ANNUAL REPORT
by Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti
Palais de l'Archevêché | until September, 20th 2015
admission fee: 9,00 €
VISIT THE FPMAG INSTAGRAM PAGE

published on 2015-07-14 in NEWS / EXHIBITIONS

ARLES2015 PaoloWoods GabrieleGalimberti SandroIovine






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