“Article by Carles Mercader Fulquet in Albedomedia about the photographer Lily Zoumpouli.”Thank you so much
Carles Mercader Fulquet.You honour me with your words!.
This is the google english translation of the article about my work published on CFC Biblao.
The term atonal arose, at the end of the 19th century, in the field of classical music to designate those compositions that made such a wide use of chromaticism that tonality, at times, seemed to be completely lost. Tristan and Isolde (1859) by Richard Wagner was an important example of this new sensibility.
However, it was the musical theorist and composer Arnold Schoenberg who took the atonal composition to the extreme by creating the technique of twelve-tone based on twelve-note series. In our dear Wikipedia we can read that chromatism is “a musical term that refers to the use of intermediate notes of the scale or semitones, which in diatonic music remain ‘fixed’ in their position: mi-fa, si-do. The chromatism affects the melodic structure and gives rise to the so-called altered notes (flat, sustained), which have importance as expressive effects “.
It seems that the musical chromatism and the atonality have come to the picture. The ATONAL photographic collective is simply defined as: “We are a group of photographers”. This group founded in May 2014 is composed of six members from different origins: Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Norway and Greece. Their names are Cato Lein, Alexander Arnild Peitersen, Jannis Tordheim, David Neman and Lily Zoumpouli.
In October 2016, the work of this group was exhibited jointly in the Roma Interzone gallery, under the curatorship of Michele Corleone. From the outset, the chromaticism of the collective ATONAL is palpable in the abandonment of one of the most feared anathemas in photography, the mixture of color and black and white photography. A common practice in our days, but reviled until recently.
In this exhibition, the individual look of the photographers was diluted to form a kind of Greek tragedy chorus. A chorus of multiple voices that screams and howls at the same time. His show was a collective image that did not lose the sensation of intimacy and visual diary. A set of 180 photographs that sought the reaction of the public; of a spectator that must be torn between the attraction of the abyss and the repulsion of the wound.
The work of the collective ATONAL, both individually and as a group, seeks a narrative that focuses on the poetic; always a story more connotative than descriptive. They define their eyes as “arrhythmic, nothing conceptual. A bit like atonal music. Open to different interpretations. ”
The young photographer Lily Zoumpouli, one of the youngest members of the ATONAL group, was born in 1994 in the Greek city of Thessaloniki. After attending the workshops of Anders Petersen and Jacob Aue Sobol, she undertook a work that follows the trail of these European masters and the lineage of the Americans Larry Clark and Nan Goldin.
[28/11/2017, 18:02:06] lily: She also claims the work of other photographers such as Francesca Woodman, Sally Mann, Michael Ackerman or Antoine d’Agata. The personal visual diary and self-documentation is the common thread of your photographs. Her life between Greece and England is reflected in the body of her work. The search and experimentation of their own identity, moments of joy and moments of sadness, certainty and uncertainty, love and friendship. Zoumpouli photographs her surroundings with an intimate look, also sexual and provocative.
In her images everything fits because everything can be photographed. The documentation of her inner circle of friends is crucial, as did the aforementioned Nan Goldin in her book Ballad of Sexual Dependence.
The title of this mythical work picked up the name of one of the pieces of the Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill. The song Ballad of sexual dependency works as an epigraph that tinges the whole work with a strong connotation and meaning. Goldin published an intimate and private visual diary. A kind of family album of a nomadic tribe that paraded through the bohemian New York of the 80s.
Images of children, couples, friends gathered at wild parties or lazy hangover afternoons. People having sex or drugs, celebrating life and crying death. A challenge to the conventions that clearly portrayed their life experiences and evidenced the relationships of sexual and emotional dependence that we are building throughout our lives.
Her photos said we love each other and we are damaged. We hit and we are beaten. The universal imprint of scenes that no one seemed to care about except their own protagonists has served as a strong inspiration for generations of photographers and poets.
I would like to recall that the Spanish novelist Julián Rodríguez dedicated a poem from his book Nevada to the work of Nan Goldin. Recently the book of the renowned writer Carlos Za has just been published entitled Blood Bank and which is based on Ballad of sexual dependence. Zanón’s poem, transcribed below, is titled as one of the images in the photo book: Brian with his head in his hands (Mérida, Mexico, 1982).
“You were late you got drunk you got hot and I an ossuary where once there was a nest. Half dressed I compose a picture for the picture, so you can run towards your other burrow because it already stinks of skinned animal, to half-cleaned shit, to dinosaur eggs, to the drunken sweat of someone who is late.”
These words could also be the lyrics of the atonal ballad of the young and promising Lily Zoumpouli. Part of her work has been published in book format by the Greek publisher AGRA entitled simply as Lily, photographs. We can infer that as Montaigne wrote in her Essays, Lily Zoumpouli makes a declaration of intentions that states: “I am the object of my book”. In all her series there is an insistent self-documentation, the registration of ones-self in relation to life and the encounter with others.
Discolouration / Selenophilia is a body of work that started at age 15 and has been developing so far. As usual in the photographers of her generation, he uses and mixes photographic materials of different fur: Polaroids, negative color and negative in black and white, including new technologies such as video or slide show. It highlights an original and sensitive use of color that combines saturation and desaturation. The scans of her photographs keep the white flecks of dust specks. The taste for the imperfect and the error gives strength and veracity to her series. Also the small scratches and veiled in the negative provide a vividness and authenticity that shun the artifice of perfection and technical control. The photographer controls the visual language inherited from her teachers and fluently masters the successes of this tradition. The fragmentation of the body, the blur, the bulky grain, the frontal blow of the flash, the trepidation and the photos moved. What some critics have come to define as “the specific photographic”. Her work is growing the sequencing of photos of great sincerity. In them she shows portraits, self-portraits, simple still lifes, disordered rooms and exterior landscapes that appear encapsulated in his own desolation. However, the joint emotion of the flow of his images detaches, despite that air of chaos and convulsion, a pure joy of being alive and the pleasure of enjoying without inhibitions or restrictions the fact of being young. There is a lot of fire and purity in Lily Zoupouli. We can appreciate as a whole a song to life and the celebration of the naked body.
It is important to emphasize the political and vindictive use of the female body. We see proud images of menstruation full of beauty. Blood-stained legs of a young woman sitting in the kitchen and the remains of a washcloth on a toilet; red on white. As the author herself points out: “The intense element of the nude represents the return to the innocent comfort of being naked, but mainly the purity towards oneself and towards the observer, showing a being and its shadows”. The vibrant moments of joy that do not exclude the pain of the wound. Experimentation with identity and with one’s own body also leads to moments of uncertainty and questioning.
Follows the same Lily Zoumpouli: “The need to connect through photography with my surroundings and with my own feelings became the catalyst of my work. Each photograph has a background story that carries the reason of its memory on its shoulders. The distance that separates us from the subject we photograph is the one that must be walked,diluted to reflect our inner self and that of others. Combined in one image, they form a mixture of “us”. A detached and obsessive autobiographical documentation where they appear: “people, spaces and objects with which I share a connection”. Emotion is a very important element in her photography, beyond any descriptive, narrative or documentary element, metaphor and poetic encouragement better explain her search and its drift. A visceral and sometimes brutal journey that does not exclude the beauty and aestheticism of the final result. The images of Lily Zoumpouli are terribly beautiful as beautiful and terrible must be all life that deserves to be lived. We are all the main object of the book of our life. We should all compose the atonal music of the soundtrack of our existence.
Original Article in Spanish