Contemporary Practices Art Journal
Steve Sabella takes pictures of London out of his windows. After that he makes replicas of an image’s fragment, transforming it into the tesserae of an overwhelming mosaic made of visual wild splinters. No horizon, no sky, just warped and disjointed walls, where we must plough through somehow. The exile becomes a permanent situation, now untangled from its physical place and present circumstances, and becomes a condition that has been exiled from its self and must be lived through.
Steve Sabella – Photography 1997-2014 | Hatje Cantz & Akademie der Künste
Hubertus Von Amelunxen
In Exile is a cut through the place, a cut in the place, and a clear decision. The series consists of five, large-format almost square color images. Only when the viewer comes close to the images does a concrete figure emerge from the oscillating pattern of dislocated, upended, or bent fragments. The five images share the morphology of dislocated fragments shaken into an order, the ontological foundation of the place seen from an intermediate space and cast off In Exile exhibits hermetic structures, blind windows, protrusions of disappointed transparency. And like In Exile and Euphoria, a rhythmic movement is at work in the images; now an arabesque sweep moving across the image, now a clearly contrapuntal arrangement, so that the images correspond to an almost musical writing, a score or notation.
Steve Sabella Photography | Foreword | Hatje Cantz & Akademie der Künste
In this series Sabella shifted from what Susan Sontag calls “a photographic way of seeing” to one of cubistic imagining. As such, he shot multiple images of fenestrations and of his daughter by a window, taken from different angles. Each shot ends up like a mere unit within a larger composition that interlaces the different shots in a tessellation of a monochromatic pattern, which recalls the structuring of the arabesque.
Boxart Gallery | Verona
Sabella’s collages may appear like Cubist images, deconstructed and reconstructed, from the three-dimensionality of the “real” to the two dimensionality of photography. And this takes us back to Bergson, not coincidentally the theoretician of Cubism, for whom the “real” as applied to time does not coincide with scientific measurement of it, but rather with a subjective stream in which any clear distinction between past and present is lost.