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Pleasure Gardens series, 2007

Pleasure Gardens series, 2007

Pleasure Gardens series, 2007

Pleasure Gardens series, 2007

Pleasure Gardens series, 2007

Pleasure Gardens series, 2007

Pleasure Gardens series, 2007

Gasworks International Residency Programme invited Annalisa Sonzogni to produce a series of images for its ongoing public programme The Gasworks Billboard. Throughout her residency, Sonzogni researched and produced Pleasure Gardens, 2007, a series of photographs from the Vauxhall area, one of which was selected for display on the front of Gasworks' building.

Sonzogni works in photography, making long exposures of night-time and predominantly urban scenes. Through her lens, unremarkable spaces, sites of anomie, and clusters of buildings are presented as places full of mythical potential. The series Teorema (Theorem) (2004-2006), shot in Prague, Turin and Lyon, shows the blank sides of unlovely high-rise flats, banks of office windows, or empty but well-trodden communal green areas. The location depends on the intuitive selection of a scene that to her has a sense of promise. While the scenes never feature people, they often feel inhabited and through the yellow oblongs of all the windows, one perceives various private worlds that can't be seen. The aim is neither to plainly document, nor to glamorise admittedly banal European architecture. Instead the work feels like a waiting game, as though the fascinating aspects of some places will eventually appear if you look for long enough. 

The long exposure, which soaks in the light, allows exactly that to happen. Nocturnal lighting becomes theatrical, blank walls and skies become limpid and subtly shaded, and distant architectural details become Oz-like fantasy buildings. Various surfaces become flattened into one or two planes, creating a stagey effect.

More recent works in video have allowed Sonzogni to explore further a time-based approach, dwelling on the latent romanticism and drama of a single place. The video Park Hotel (2007, 2.58) speeds up a single shot of an apartment in early evening while a popular Italian song tells of melodramatic love, longing, and waiting. By observing a bedroom light switching on, and then off, various narratives can be inferred as night sets in.

Annalisa Sonzogni has received considerable attention in Italy and has works in the collection of Patrizia Sandretto, but this is her first presentation in the UK.

Gasworks would like to thank Stina Eddblom and Rebecca Burt for volunteering as Photographic Assistants during Sonzogni's project.