The concept of penumbra describes that condition that is cotemporaneously non-light and non-dark, a space therefore that figuratively describes uncertainty and indeterminacy. One of the artists best able to use light as a symbolic tool, especially when connected to the city and themes of precariousness in small town development, is Ian Strange, who presented his latest project called precisely ‘PENUMBRA.’
The city chosen for this series of two works is Cincinnati, U.S.A., where Strange created two installations in the midst of the city’s houses on the occasion of the FotoFocus Biennal.
On Ley Street Ian Strange projected a vertical cone of light onto a small neighborhood house. The roof and small garden were thus highlighted, in comparison to the whole context, as if to put under the magnifying glass the symbol of an idea of a town center linked to the past and linked to family histories, often distorted by urbanization.
A small house on Walnut Avenue, on the other hand, was covered with reflective material (that used for street signs) by the artist, the light then caused the subject to be overexposed, with a bright white silhouette that became a foreign body among the darkness of the neighborhood.
FotoFocus Biennial 2022 curator Kevin Moore commented on Ian Strange’s work and the importance of his works to the city this way:
“Strange’s Cincinnati interventions and their photographic output offer interpretive documentation of the city’s domestic history by examining the changing fates of particular neighborhoods, homes, and the populations who continue to dwell there.“