excerpt from Aperto Slovenia
Photography can be both intimately personal and a deliberate construction intended for a mass audience – sometimes in the same series or even in a single work. Carefully controlled photographs by Manja Zore, for example, are both visually effective and highly ambiguous. Together with the realism particular to the medium of photography, they consist of strong, abstract forms and colors that appear almost painterly. In the works from her Luna series she used details of female bodies. These works strike me as referring both to different mythological traditions connected to the female body and to the contemporary use of such bodies in mass media and advertising. What is even more important, however, is their strange combination of visual pleasure and uncanniness.READ FULL ARTICLE
Best reportage/documentary photo series award
Manja Zore’s contemporary approach to addressing the ubiquitous theme of illness pushes the boundaries of documentary photography. Her intimate yet realistic photographs of deformed hands confront us with the consequences of an illness that can affect anyone. Choosing to feature afflicted people of different age groups, the photographer not only shows us the visible, physically cruel consequences that hinder the most basic everyday activities, but – using a subtle psychological approach – also critically examines afflicted people’s place in society and hints at a possible solution.
Nagrada za reportažno fotografijo
Sodobni pristop Manje Zore k aktualiziranju vsakdanje in vseprisotne teme – bolezni – širi meje reportažne fotografije. Skozi intimne, a hkrati realistične posnetke deformiranih rok nas sooči s posledicami te bolezni, ki lahko prizadene vsakogar. Z ispostavitvijo obolelih različnih starostnih skupin avtorica ne pokaže zgolj vidnih, fizičnih posledic, ki so krute, saj jim otežujejo opravljanje osnovnih, vsakdanjih del, temveč s subtilnim psihološkim pristopom problematizira tudi njihovo mesto v družbi in pri tem napoti k možni rešitvi.
It is probably impossible to contemplate the buttocks from a strictly sexualized point of view: what I mean is that an artist who would capture only this aspect of the male or female body would certainly risk missing some of the very essence of the buttocks, namely its ambiguity. But perhaps, in doing so, the artist would ultimately gain something else.
What do Manja Zore’s photographs in fact show us? Women with their backs turned, headless women, sometimes even disembodied women, and breasts that sprout bizarrely in unexpected places. Singular creatures, much in the manner of Max Ernst. Collage-like, moments of folds or slits, the surprise emergence of hands or feet, in an environment of silk or hard shell; a mixture of objects, funny, exciting; assemblages of luminous and silent flesh; women both immense and absent. In them, I don’t see so much of what Moravia called “the revelation of nature’s solemn mystery,” but rather an extravagant creature living a supernatural existence, as if under the influence of some divine grace, unbeknownst to it. A magnificent creation (I am speaking here, of course, of the buttocks), a leaf, a bird or a fish, with obscure origins, one that could offer a glimpse of the divine. And this creature, pale, often pale and mysterious (because never presented fully) is perhaps never to be awoken.
What could be more beautiful than the photograph entitled Cushion where the feet, the tattooed arm, the green bottom, the butterflies and the wet hair, all are like a child’s dream, like an immutable joy?
Il est probablement impossible d’envisager les fesses d’un strict point se vue sexué : je veux dire qu’un artiste qui se risquerait à ne saisir que ce morceau d’homme ou de femme certainement manquerait de la substance même des fesses, qui est par nature ambiguë. Mais peut-être finalement y gagnerait-il autre chose.
Que nous montrent, en effet, les photographies de Manja Zore ? Des femmes de dos, des femmes sans tête, des femmes parfois même sans corps, et des sortes de seins qui poussent bizarrement, là où ne les attend pas. Des sortes de créatures singulières, à la façon de Max Ernst. Presque des collages, des instantanés de plis ou de fentes, des surgissements inattendus de pieds ou de mains, dans un environnement de soie ou de carapace, des objets hétéroclites, drôles, excitants, des sortes d’assemblages de chair lumineuse et muette, de femmes immenses et absentes. J’y vois moins ce que Moravia appelait « la découverte d’un mystère solennel de la nature » qu’une créature extravagante, qui vivrait d’une vie surnaturelle, comme sous l’emprise d’une grâce dont elle n’aurait pas connaissance. Une créature splendide (je parle de fesses, bien sûr), feuille, oiseau ou poisson, aux origines obscures, et qui ferait entrevoir une parcelle de la divinité. Et cette créature, pâle, souvent pâle, et mystérieuse (car jamais totalement offerte) est peut-être promise au sommeil.
Quoi de plus beau que cette photo intitulée Cushion où les pieds, le bras tatoué, les fesses vertes, les papillons et les cheveux mouillés font comme un rêve d’enfant, comme un bonheur immuable ?
Manja Zore is a rising young talent in the world of creative photography. She likes to look, as any good photographer must. Photography is about witness, the gaze, and the inevitable voyeuristic act of partaking vicariously in the other’s drama. Manja’s preoccupation with the body, its subtle parts and the interaction of these from one to another, drives her curiosity. She is getting off on something! Perhaps, it is the subtle caress of the camera and its click – intrusion into intimacy. For it is the still photograph’s ability to capture a moment which defies any kind of literal coding and yet signals a feeling that stimulates the viewer to look.
Manja’s talent lies in her ability to titillate. She suggests scenarios and narratives about a relationship that we would all like to experience. It does not matter whether she has been a faithful witness to something real or that she fabricated and staged each frame. What does matter is that she has manifested a visual equivalent for our own sexual drive for intimacy. Ironically, nothing is very explicit and all the expression of the great sensual quality of all these images lie in simple gestures and the juxtaposition of erotic shapes.
Red is at the core of her palate. It drives the pictures, suggests the passion, and even the potential for violence that exists in every intimacy. It looms out at you, drawing you into the emotion of a love affair. It is very seductive and yet a warning to the viewer that something could go awry. Touch the silk slip or the puckered lips if you must, but remember there will be consequences. Hence without really telling us any specifics, Manja has managed to create an edgy story in each of her frames. A story which prompts us to bring our own experiences of the symbolic meaning of red to the photographic act.DOWNLOAD CATALOGUE
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