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Solitario

2009 - 2011

Vienna

“Why didn’t it ever occur to you…that what happened to you happens to everybody: to be unable to see yourself living; and if you weren’t for the others what till now you had believed, similarly, the others might not be the way you see them, etc. etc?”

Luigi Pirandello, One, No One and One Hundred Thousand

The project Solitario – named after the Italian for the popular card game – is the result of two years of intense work, which began with the extraction and computer processing of 365 images of unknown people, who were by coincidence captured in vacation photos of family members taken in Vienna, Venice and Istanbul.

The calendar of human figures, assembled from the meticulously painted silhouettes of the 365 persons selected, each of them placed in a virtual space and randomly assigned a number between 1 and 365, became the basis for the next, communicative, phase of the project. The aim was to get the same number of people involved as were found in the depictions of unknown persons. Their participation, which was predominantly facilitated by email, soon took on a dynamic of its own thanks to the “snowball effect”. The participants, who also remained anonymous, were asked pick a number and then to set down their spontaneous associations upon seeing the corresponding image of an unknown stranger on their computer monitor.

The result is a bizarre, multilingual collection of associations. It is impossible to establish whether there is any truth in their statements, and it is impossible to decide how much they are to be attributed to the unknown persons depicted and how much they are merely the product of the personal destinies and projections of the participants. Banalities, platitudes, prejudices, but also creativity, originality and poetry are all part of the collection. These reactions are reproduced in their original form and language in the exhibition catalog.