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Steve Harries Octopus, Fondazione Sozzani 31.03–29.05.22

Steve Harries, Octopus, Fondazione Sozzani


Steve Harries, Octopus | Fondazione Sozzani, Milan

March 31 – May 29, 2022

Exhibition Opening
Wednesday 30 March, 5:30-8PM

In Octopus, British artist Steve Harries explores the strength and fragility of our global environment, adopting his signature still-life approach to capture detailed geological studies and epic glacial landscapes.

“As a photographer, the mountains evoke such curiosity and inspiration. Their texture, formation and silhouette. Their age and history. Over the last 10 years I have recorded a portfolio of their form and geology from around the world. Subjects which were all studied in isolation and often clash and collide. But sometimes talk to each other with a quiet synergy.”

Photographed over a decade and in multiple locations spanning Austria, Italy, Canada and Chile, Harries’ initially sought to capture an instinctual visual response to our natural surroundings; one of respect, appreciation and admiration. Yet on reading the poem ‘An Octopus’ by Marianne Moore (1924), Harries describes how his pictures took on a new meaning.

“My pictures felt immediately understood in series. Her words speak so perfectly of this landscape. The beauty, presence, strength and power. The changing perceptions and wider influence on the natural world. She has enabled me to combine and choreograph this catalogue of images, dissecting and layering with a blissful randomness that felt alien before.”

“Relentless accuracy is the nature of this octopus with its capacity for fact.
Creeping slowly as with meditated stealth,
its arms seeming to approach from all directions..”

“the lightning flashing at its base,

rain falling in the valleys, and snow falling on the peak—

the glassy octopus symetrically pointed,

its claw cut by the avalanche

"with a sound like the crack of a rifle,

in a curtain of powdered snow launched like a waterfall.”

In 1924 Moore too observed a sense of constant change; the movement of texture and form through light and time. Her words now have a new resonance with the glacier’s forced fragility in our modern times.