VERNER SOLER, SHORTLISTED 3RD BIENNIAL’S GRANT
A Child’s Privacy
A Child’s Privacy is a long-term project that came about when I was contemplating
sharing photographs of our son on the Internet more than a decade ago. The sense
of unease I felt was so strong that I couldn’t click the upload button. My sense of privacy
was at odds with the idea.
This body of work explores my conflict between wanting to share and wanting to
withhold. It questions the ownership of a child’s identity. Does it belong to the parents,
to do with as we see fit, or does it belong to the children until they are old
enough to understand the implications and decide for themselves?
I decided to eliminate the identity from the photographs, leaving the somewhat eerie
shell of clothes sculpted by the body underneath.
Should I be so lucky to win the your grant money, I’d use it towards an exhibit for
Visits to my village
Emigrants — so many of us come from a village, be it from the Swiss Alps, as in my
case, the thousands of villages in Europe, or from the Mexican countryside, the Peruvian
or Argentinian Pampas, the bush in Africa, a forgotten town in middle America
or the vastness of Russia, China or South East Asia. ‘Landflucht, as it’s known in the
German language, the migration of people away from the periphery towards the agglomeration
is a global phenomenon.
The economic and practical reasons for ‘fleeing the land’ are well documented. Not
so much the emotional fallout from it. Whether we’re in search of opportunities, or
fleeing an unworkable situation, we’ve all left the small, the knowable, the intimate,
for the big city, with which we can never strike up the same intimate relationship, no
matter how long we stay.
My own situation, partly by circumstance and partly by design is a luxury compared
to that of most displaced people around the world today. I have made it a point to
visit my village almost yearly, sometimes more over the past twenty eight years.
‘Visits to my village’ explores the relationship that remains. The physical, the emotional,
the very personal.
Should I be so lucky to win the your grant money, I’d put it towards the production
of the book Visits to my village. (Below is a mock-up of a few pages with texts)