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Opaque windows to the soul

Through her art, Spalinger features slices of life in Switzerland.

(Musée d'art et d'histoire Fribourg)

The Swiss artist, Nika Spalinger, has collaborated with the United States filmmaker, Shelly Silver, on a new exhibition at Fribourg's Art and History Museum.

Spalinger's art tends to focus mainly on public spaces and she is using video in her latest exhibition to examine the changing nature of contemporary identity.

The show is housed in a long corridor, which branches off at right angles, leading the visitor to different video stations.

A television monitor is set up at each station, showing repetitive pieces of film focusing on everyday city life, but also looking at a part of the body - a neck, an ear, an eye, or an elbow.

Through her art, Spalinger looks at the things that shape our perceptions of ourselves, and of others, by juxtaposing varied and diverse images. A powerful effect of her work is the way it shows how we can all be, at the same time, surrounded by others and yet very much alone.

The visitor reflects on the people in the videos - the listless face of a man on a park bench or the morose eyes of a woman on a bus. Where are they going? What are they thinking?

Spalinger and Silver never reveal what is behind the faces - behind the emotions that the hidden camera has captured.

The exposition also features previous works and sculptures by Spalinger, which look at the effects of information technology on society.

The exhibition runs until February 18.


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