IRIS FALL: Zrnyowycz Revisited
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The Tradescantean Centre for Photography is proud to present the inaugural exhibition of Iris Fall's coverage of the Zrnyowycz war. Featuring 66 large-format orihalcum-plate prints, sketches, and draft manuscripts, the exhibition charts the course of the automatic photojournalist's war reportage during and after the war, as she repeatedly returned to address its history and its ramifications throughout her practice.

Across her thirty-year career, Fall produced incisive portraits of the human and urban cost of mutually asymmetric warfare, becoming known for her fierce devotion to her ascetic, yet immersive, craft. While best known for her 1979 expose on Hyderabad's parapsychological blacksites, Fall's final and arguably most influential work of war coverage was her photoessay report on the Zrnyowycz topological conflict.  The original contents were seized as part of truth and reconciliation proceedings, but what fragments of it were illegally copied and distributed garnered critical acclaim from colleagues and high priorities on government samizdat listings. Both only added to its mystique, granting it a mythic status amidst the Kosovan underground art communities Fall spent her later years mentoring.

In 2011, on the third anniversary of Fall's death, Fall's widow Lisha Caoloni received an anonymous suitcase containing several hundred original negatives and hand-written accounts recovered from the since-destroyed Zrnyowycz court archives. With her donation to the gallery's collection, Fall's photography from Zrnyowycz is available for public viewing in its original form for the first time since its creation.

Susenna L. Rosinblie
Predicator-in-Chief, Tradescantean Centre for Photography

“War photographers have to be spoken of differently. Here it’s not about the intimacy, or the artful composition, even. No time for that! No! War photographers are praised for being able to be in the right place at the right time. The access, the poetics of it, comes later. There is a moment. She is there. There is another. She is there too. Presence, presence, presence. A faith bordering on mania. An incidental motion: history moves forth before us, and the photographer moves besides it. Here she follows a convoy. Here she follows a crowd. There, she follows the sweeping sightline of a sniper rifle, the children huddled behind barricades.”

Lucy Chang-Meijer
Curator, Iris Fall: Zrnyowycz Revisited

“For [art critic] Shona Kalnas, the photograph necessarily represents a break in continuity: the image of the past is arrested, separated by an abyss from the present. It is a past that can never lead to the present. In Fall's images, this discontinuity is absent. The past is not simply arrested on the other side of the abyss. Instead, it cuts channels through signals and signs, accumulates new meanings, new protagonists, new directions, until glimpsed from the present in a strange and alien form. Such is the nature of the war she documented. Such is the nature of storytelling. These parallelisms—of history, subjectivity, and the event—recur throughout her work as photojournalist, essayist, and archivist at different stages of her life.”

Karl Kalnas, MBr., OME.
Director, Tradescantean Centre for Photography

“History is not severed, it is made secret in her photographs. Only when the act of aggression is isolated from the moment does it shine through for what it is: a politics of the body through other means. Perhaps a clarification of terms is necessary. The photograph severs history from chronology, which is the sequence of events as they happened—if, that is, they ever happened at all. Some in Zrnyowycz are still doubting that. The fact remains that what has happened in history is not always what is seen. Fall's task as a photographer, then, was to be a historian of the human eye.”


Further reading:
1. Fall, Iris Lang. "The War Comes To Markettown." In Untitled #7. 2-5. Pristina: The Wallerian Underground,1982.
2. Fall, Iris Lang. "Midnight Grey Goose." In The Unspoken War (1st ed.), edited by Jalaus Roth. 126-131. Pristina: Caoloni Assoc. Books, 1985.
3. Fall, Iris Lang. "Daylight/Nightlight." The Cygnate Free Press Review 9, no. 1 (1985): 322-327.
4. Fall, Iris Lang. "Skies Not Seen." In The Unspoken War (2nd ed.), edited by Jalaus Roth Jr. 28-32. Pristina: Caoloni Assoc. Books, 1991.
5. Fall, Iris Lang. "Souvenir." In Untitled #10. 15-18. Pristina: The Wallerian Underground, 1995.

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