Mental journey

Michael Snow – CONTACTS: Venetian Blind

Michael Snow, CONTACTS: Venetian Blind, 1970, photography, 44 x 79,9 cm, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, photo: unknown

Even before social media, there were selfies. Venetian Blind shows 24 self-portraits of the artist Michael Snow in Venice. His face, always with his eyes blinded by the sun and squeezed shut, appears blurred in the foreground, while the background shows the typical architectures and sights of the city. 

Not only does Snow close his eyes to the touristic highlights, but also the title of the work points to an ambiguity: “Venetian Blind” is the American term for window blinds. In the 21st century, Venice – the sinking city – symbolizes much more than just the Dolce Vita image of the 1970s. Travelling also contributes to the fact that Venice has sunk more than 20 centimeters during the last 100 years due to climate change. Thus, fifty years after its creation, the “Venetian blindness” takes on an entirely new meaning.