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Made between 1984 and 1986, the photographs in “Hidden Places” are risky if not challenging. The German title: “Die Muschel” – in English “The Shell” – is intentionally allegorical. The Latin word vagina used in medicine to describe a part of the female body sounds too scientific to embrace emotional or poetic involvement. Where language reaches its limits, images can be helpful. Some of the early photographs of vulvas in art were taken by women. This marked an important step in the Women’s Rights Movement and provoked a new discussion.
René Groebli – as male photographer – chooses a different approach. He takes up the history of symbols, applies his own visual perception for the synthesis of images, shows female genitals in brilliant sharpness and lets the contours melt into nature. The connection between landscape and the female organ becomes now one in association of form, evoking in the observer a new dimension. The closest proximity meets the greatest vastness. Woman becomes one with the all-embracing nature in the most intimate and delicate part of her body.
It is probably hard to conceive a more eloquent parable of creation;
the polarities of becoming and passing away, of fleeting moments of happiness and eternal natural cycles, of intimacy and anonymity, remain perfectly balanced in Groebli’s images.
Die Muschel - Hidden Places by René Groebli is presented as a limited edition book. This First Edition is limited to 300 copies. Signed and numbered.
René Groebli is a Swiss photographer born 1927 in Zurich
29.7 cm x 21.0 cm
With a text by Angela Drewe
Sturm & Drang publishers 2020