There is so much inside of a circle and so much outside of a circle. That almost magical circumference also resonates with the connection. It is not a spiral that expands or contracts; a circle is more structured, precise, contained, and carries the weight of philosophy, a desire for perfection, and a definite mapping. A circle links macrocosm and microcosm, a harmonic structure of the universe. A circle does not meander; it is not flawed by chance or accident. A circle means what it is, an infinite loop between you and me.

Bara Prasilova’s Circle series links the seemingly real and the seemingly unreal. The almost divine perfection of the process and the image is countered by the fantastical or surreal. In Without Clouds (2021), a young girl’s impossibly long braid encircles a boy, a ruckenfigur facing an infinitely blue horizon bisected by a white wall far in the distance. This is inside and outside; it is about distance and closeness; it is about being with and apart. It is about gender or gender; it is about expectations and dreams. These themes can also be seen in Touching (2021), which shows a young woman and a young man, each with an arm in a sling. They are presented frontally, and equally, their fingers touch against a background of a complicated split concrete stairway under a cloud-strewn sky. The figures in Touching could almost be those in Without Clouds, twelve or so years later. Such a pairing speaks not only generally to a circle of life, but more power to the complications of human interaction, particularly along the lines of gender and age. These are aspects that can be seen in other images in the series, such as On and On (2021), showing a strong woman dressed in powerful red and high heel black boots holding on her shoulders a young girl holding an impossibly heavy-looking black barbell. A stairway ascends in the right background, and again, there is a brilliant blue sky filled with billowy white clouds. A visual delight in colours and opposing texture, the image is rife with surreal associations, such as the impossibility of the act of holding the barbell. Yet, at the same time, the image speaks to the ideas of power, strength, age, motherhood, sex, gender roles, and not only the weight of gender roles but their subversion. The young girl bears the weight of being a young girl, but she also can carry it. The barbell may be a burden, but it also indicates strength. Again, will this young girl become the woman holding her on her shoulders? Is this her mother? Is this the circle—mother to daughter, daughter to mother—generation to generation? Or is this image simply a metaphor for the strength of being female? Prasilova does not give answers; she keeps us spinning around and thinking about what it means.

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Xposure hosts solo exhibition spaces for acclaimed photographers along with group exhibitions for professional institutions. All exhibiting photographers will be present during the festival, enabling you the opportunity to meet and talk to them about their work.