Stazione di Topolò | Postaja Topolove is an annual cultural festival that has been organized since 1994 by Donatella Ruttar and Moreno Miorelli. The festival takes place in Topolò, a small mountain village in Friuli in northeastern Italy, on the border with Slovenia. Topolò once had about 400 inhabitants, now there are only 22. There is no museum and there are no galleries or spaces that resemble a ‘white cube’. Presentations and performances take place in the open air or in empty houses or barns. As an ambassador of the festival I invited Ulay to participate in the year 2000.
As a contribution to Stazione di Topolò | Postaja Topolove, Ulay made a monumental group portrait, ‘Family at 4 o'clock’, measuring approximately 250 x 400 cm., A portrait of 5 residents from the village that he executed on the spot.
A stable was converted into a photographic darkroom, light-sensitive linen hung in strips on a wall, and by means of briefly illuminating the space, the photo was taken, capturing the situation as it was.
Ulay then subsequently applied developer, stop bath and fixer using large sponges, after which the silhouettes of the subjects became visible.
This time spent in Topolò, and the friendships that arose afterwards, have contributed to the fact that Ulay has been back to Topolò several times and in later years participated in episodes of the Stazione di Topolò festival.
The ‘making of’ of ‘Family at 4 o'clock’ in Topolò was documented on video at the time by Martina Kafol and Katja Colja. This video report, as well as the final result, will be exhibited from Saturday 21 November to Saturday 30 January 2021 in PS projectspace. The exhibition can only be viewed by appointment.
- Jan van der Ploeg