Fotomuseum Winterthur | Saturday, 22.11.1997 – Sunday, 18.01.1998

Moving Mountains – Girola´s Power Stations in the Alps

The “securely built” alps, as the poet Friedrich Hölderlin described them in a poetic fragment, have been the subject of human attacks for centuries, which have eaten away at them. The mountains – in spite of all their stability and apparent immobility – are torn down, rebuilt and constantly transformed. Mining and road building, straightening of mountain streams and agriculture have left behind obvious traces. People searching for minerals, geologists and engineers explore the mountain landscape. When mountain-oriented romanticism again and again sought to imagine the interior of the mountains, believing there to find the hidden, mysterious reason of being, they foresaw (against their will) industrial exploitation of the Alps – only in place of dreamed of legendary gold veins and crystals quite different veins appear above and below ground: railway networks and massive hydraulic works in the service of the fairy “electricity”, with their countless dams, pressure pipes and “central stations”.

The exhibition and the accompanying book explore this transformation, the advancing geometrisation of the Alps – the industrial movement of mountains until the valuable energy flows from the Alps. It explores this transformation using photographs taken by the Italian photographer Paoletti in the 1930‘s and 40‘s for the power station builders Umberto Girola in the North-Italian Alps.

The exhibition was curated by Michael Jakob and Urs Stahel.