Ariana is a major three-part film and photographic project, showing concurrently at Chisenhale Gallery and MW projects.
Ariana investigates the relationship between landscape and history. It explores ideas of utopia and resistance, questioning the tools of cinema and western ideas of viewpoint and panorama.
Recorded in Afghanistan during 2002, Ariana details a journey to the capital Kabul, and to the beautiful Pandjshêr Valley, a region that has historically resisted the invasions of Soviet and Taliban ideologies.
Hugonnier's film, showing at Chisenhale Gallery to 18 May, charts the journey of a film crew. On arriving in the Pandjshêr Valley, their intention is to investigate how the landscape has determined the region's history. To do so, the crew attempts to find a vantage point up in the mountains to record a panorama of the entire valley. Access to this viewpoint is refused, because of its strategic value. The crew returns to Kabul to record the ruins and traffic of the city, where all traces of past and present ideologies exist as fractured and disparate elements. The crew obtains permission to shoot a final panorama. The view allows them to gaze over Kabul and across to the Hindu Kush Mountains. They realise that this spectacle gives them a feeling of euphoria and totality. They decide to stop filming.
Ariana also features a group of photographs, showing concurrently at MW projects until 31 May. These are large-scale portraits of nameless mountains in the Hindu Kush range. The presence of these mountains both as instigators of the course of history and as witnesses to the successful resistance against failed political utopias is recalled in these images. The third element of Ariana, also at MW projects, is a photographic album, featuring a collection of 36 small-scale images taken by Hugonnier throughout the trip. This functions simultaneously as a storyboard to the project and also as a personal reflection of the trip.
April 9 - May 18, 2003
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