Alex Morel – In the Still of the Afternoon
People and Places, Here and Forever or Cancelled Time were all possible working titles for the work by Alex Morel, the young Caribbean photographer who lives in New York. The themes of his photographs are on the one hand friends, relatives, sometimes strangers, and on the other the landscape, water, drought or the interior and the garden as the landscape of home. But whatever we see, we immediately feel that the photographs are about something that points beyond the subject portrayed, that the theme refers to something outside itself, and must thus be understood metaphorically. Thus the exhibition itself – In the Still of the Afternoon – must be interpreted as descriptive and metaphoric at one and the same time. It describes a period of time in which many of the photographs were taken, it names the special quality, the stillness, of this time and indicates that this decelerated time is essential to life.
Alex Morel frequently photographs his friends in moments of relaxation, composure, moments when they are sitting or lying down, floating, dozing, when they are simply being, when they let themselves go during their siesta, before the second part of the day begins. In these quiet portraits taken in the living room, the bedroom, taking a bath, relaxing in the park – portraits, which also contain a narrative element – there is a feeling of a search for the change between presence and absence, this ambiguous condition around three o’clock in the afternoon that is known only to southern countries and which is for them the central part of the day, and perhaps of life. A caesura in the middle of the day, a sinking down into oneself, a piece of magic in the middle of the day, a present stillness in the shadow of the day. Alex Morel (born in 1973), who grew up in the Dominican Republic and now commutes between that country and the USA, takes life in the south from his perspective essence as the theme and vision of photographs.
The exhibition was curated by Urs Stahel.