Opening at 13:00 SLT on Tuesday, April 5th, is the latest exhibition at Dathúil Gallery, operated by Max Butoh and Lυcy (LucyDiam0nd). I like for you to be still presents images by photographer Kate Bergdorf what have been composed and shot to the words of Pablo Neruda’s poem of the same name, published in his 1924 volume Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada (Twenty Love Poems and A Song Of Despair).
On offer are 19 images of varying sizes, some of which are nude studies, together with framed copies of the poem. “With the works in this exhibit, I attempt to transmit emotion by using both words and images,” Kate says of the exhibit. “Each image corresponds to a sentence or words from the poem. An expression of silent love.”
Presented in three (or sometimes five) stanzas, the poem is an emotive, moving piece, rich in melancholy, coupled with redemption and catharsis; the feelings of one lover towards another, as both occupy the same space in silence. In these moments, it is possible for the mind to wander to dark places, only to return, the heart lifted by a smile, or a gentle, wordless touch, such as a kiss.
Attempting to interpret such a well-known and loved poem is never going to be an easy task, and I have to confess, that for me, not all of the images here really work when set against Neruda’s words. Certainly, the melancholia is beautifully encapsulated in several – notably those on the lower right side of the exhibition space as you enter (seen above, centre). However, I confess that the nude images, while artfully posed and presented, didn’t resonate with me as visual interpretations of the emotions and tenderness of thought present within Neruda’s words. Which is a shame.
But this is only my opinion; I would still urge you to visit Dathúil, where I like for you to be still continues through until the end of April.
- Dathúil Gallery (Rated: Adult)