Taken between 2014 and late 2017, Bizjak’s Alpi Apuane photographs constitute a sublime eulogy to the Apuan Alps – a vast mountain range in northern Tuscany, whose numerous quarries were the origins of some of the greatest masterpieces of European art. Exploring the mountains for four years, Bizjak focused in his new works on what is left behind in the fabled Apuan quarries. By using long exposures and analogue technique, he gradually captured the secluded extraction sites and unveiled what our eyes would never be able to discern.
As vast neo-romantic landscapes, the seven exhibited photographs encapsulate the artist’s exploration. Each of the prints unfolds an extensive temporal and spatial dimension that invites the viewer to immerse, look deeper, and become embraced by the mountain. Meditating on the grandiose scenery captured in Bizjak’s photographs, one begins to recognize the details and nuances, which attest to the traces of human activity and expose the exquisite beauty of the contested landscape. Alpi Apuane thus presents a series of monumental, but nevertheless sensitive portrayals of destruction and disappearance, which raise the stones subjected to obliteration to a status as high as that of the artworks crafted from the mountains’ interiors.
In the exhibited photographs Bizjak achieves a sense of immediacy and intimacy with the mountain. The idea of unmediated directness with the selected motif is heightened by the fact that the works underwent no degree of digital manipulation. It is only through careful selection of shooting points of view and great dedication that Bizjak elevated the crude reality he faced to a sublime and nearly surreal level, thereby manifesting that if carefully observed and perceptively experienced, reality is oftentimes stronger than the fabricated or the imaginary.