We met in the square, at Campe’s bar. It was my first day, while the others had been here for a week already. I ordered a sandwich and a spritz. Carl, the Swede, was gulping down a large glass of cold water. It was hot and he was already slightly sunburnt after a week chasing after Barbara, Fabrizio and their goats. Yana, the German, had ordered nothing, exhausted by yet another early rise. Claudio had taught her that there’s no way you can see the animals if you wake up late, although most of the time she was happy enough just to follow and photograph footprints, traces, paths drawn by cows, insects, people and stars. She knew that if the sun can be chased along the contour of a shadow, living beings can be intimately known by observing how they inscribe the land with their passage. Neither Carl nor Yana spoke any Italian, so they’d had to learn to understand everything by using their eyes. Their works, respectively a series of instructions in the form of photographs and a collection of traces, mirror their way of learning from what they witnessed. Everyone those days was following something, every one of them in Lessinia was an apprentice, also Eleonora, who learned that the work weighs upon the body and that everything ultimately is a matter of weight, even the simple fact of being a woman. How much does a pitchfork full of hay weigh, or the body of child? What is the weight of an opinion, or of the goat farmers’ net that is unrolled every morning and rolled up every night? What about a photograph?

This exhibition shows the works of Yana Wernicke, Eleonora Agostini and Carl Ander.
All three of them stayed in Lessinia for two weeks in May 2022, and during that time they were all apprentices of someone or something. Yana was the pupil of goats, men, insects and shadows, and learned that the path one draws is in turn trodden on, crossed by and erased by other beings. In her photographic work, the traces left by plants, men and animals are constantly interwoven.
Eleonora asked Elena, Alessia, Barbara, Ada, Chiara, Daniela and Desirè, working women, to teach her how they worked and how they carried their own bodies. Her photographs, which emerge along the thin line that separates who we are and how we act, is a reflection on how knowledge, far from being something abstract, is instead embodied by people’s gestures and poses. Carl, on the other hand, provides us with an instruction manual, a compendium of the actions and the tools he observed during his apprenticeship with the goat herders and cheese producers Barbara and Fabrizio. His work unfolds like a map on the wall, inviting viewers to retrace his first steps in learning how to “transform grass into cheese”.

What is on display here are the results of Eleonora, Carl and Yana’s exercises in reading the territory and the inhabitants of Lessinia. Each of them has chosen to focus on a tiny aspect of the life of this place, and they present this from the particular points of view they carefully picked out by moving around the things, people and animals which they observed, learning how to decipher the traces, how to read the signs, and how to transform these into images.