limits of empathy
The work „Limits of Empathy“ deals with the suicide of the Gambian refugee Pateh Sabally, who arrived in Italy by sea in 2015 and lived in Milan for the following 2 years. In January 2017 and with the expiry of his residence permit, he took the train to Venice, left the station and threw himself into the Grand Canal, where he finally drowned. There is a video of the suicide showing the drowning man. In various articles reporting the suicide, it has been described that Sabally jumped into the Grand Canal from the nearby Scalzi Bridge and drowned. In fact, the video of the suicide shows a red house front several hundred meters away from the Scalzi Bridge. It seems therefore impossible that Sabally actually jumped off the Scalzi Bridge. The red façade thus became a fixed point in the search for clues and can be understood as a symbol of condensing uncertainties. The image as a trace of the real becomes a space for interpretation from which a multitude of fictional narratives unfold, but at the end of which there is always concrete death.
The photo series deals with the pictorial depictability of other realities of life and investigates the norms of cultural appropriation within photographic works. The search for an idea, its elaboration and constant questioning, which ends in the repeated destruction of the design, are central elements of the multi-part series, which also raises questions about the limits of what can be depicted and the responsibility of the photographer.
In the book accompanying the exhibition, the questioning of the documentary abilities of photography is also addressed: The first flip through the book shows only white pages. It is only behind these blank pages that the different approaches and associated thoughts are revealed.