On March 29, 2014 the Sonnabend Gallery will open Saeculum Aureum, an exhibition of new works by Elger Esser.
Returning to the area of his Roman childhood, Elger Esser made his new series of photographs in the Giardino di Ninfa south of Rome. Since the Renaissance this extraordinary garden venue attracted painters like Giorgio Vasari as well as writers like Truman Capote and Virginia Woolf and continues to fascinate poets and artists today.
The garden is on the site of the ancient city of Ninfa which, after the turmoil of the Black Death epidemics and raids of the Middle Ages, was abandoned and over the centuries the ruins were gradually overgrown. The park is owned by the Princes of Caetani, Dukes of Sermoneta, and in the 20th century, the Caetani family renewed the cultivated estate, preserving the tree-infested character of the garden while also introducing landscaping elements similar to the English garden style.
Elger Esser’s photographs, encouraged by the visionary and mythical scenery of Ninfa’s unique water landscapes and wildlife, suggest an allegorical world of Greek mythology where nymphs and satyrs could be hidden behind the ruins of ancient stone walls or in the wildish woodland along estuaries and basins. The titles of works in the Ninfa series refer to Greek and Roman mythology, specifically: water, rock or flower nymphs.
All works of the Ninfa series are unique pieces and are printed directly onto aluminum and finished with a shellac surface, defying classic photographic print conventions and placing the works somewhere between photography and painting. With their combination of a conceptual approach with timeless compositions, these works continue on from Elger Esser’s previous landscape works and vedute.
The exhibition will continue through April 26.
Please contact the gallery for further information