ARCTIC COORDINATES | Davide Monteleone | 26 Nov 2015 - 15 Feb 2016


Davide Monteleone

curated by Anna Arutiunova


Opening reception, Thursday 26 November 2015, 7.00 pm

27 November, 2015 - 15 February, 2016


ILEX Gallery @ 10b Photography Gallery


“Odyssey is a travel with a lot of trouble. This is also how life is”
Edison, able seaman on board the “Nordic Odyssey”

“The traveller is the journey.
What we see is not what we see but who we are”

Fernando Pessoa, “The Book of Disquiet”



Ilex Gallery is pleased to present the beautiful series "Arctic Coordinates", by artist and storyteller Davide Monteleone. The project, first commissioned by the US magazine The New Yorker, was made during a thirty-five day journey on the “Nordic Odyssey” cargo ship, which transported, in the summer of 2012, 70,000 tons of iron ore from the Russian port of Murmansk to China across the Arctic. It was the first time ever that a cargo boat sailed the Northern Sea Route- an alternative transportation route made available with the onset of global warming. The ship, led by an icebreaker, waded through the ice of the Arctic waters, crossed the foggy Bering Strait and continued along the far-eastern parts of Russia, passing by Japan before arriving to a newly built port on the shores of China.

The voyage soon turned routine, flattening the sense of time and space, negating any excitement of being somewhere unique. The boredom, the slow passing of time, the impossibility to escape – is daily life for the sailors who undertake this journey to earn their livelihood. The romanticized image of the Arctic - of exotic travel, of brave seamen – fades to the harsh reality faced by the men who spend months away from their families, overwhelmed by the utter feeling of time laid waste. Like Odysseus, their only wish is to return home.

So the lust for adventure becomes a trap; the thirstiness for new impressions gives way to deep thinking. And this switch of mood becomes visible throughout the Arctic Coordinates series – like Mark Rothko’s color field paintings, Davide Monteleone’s images are expressive without being descriptive, thought provoking without becoming literary. And the leaden emptiness of space, eventually losing its deepness and sharpness, creates a meditative mood and a perfect setting to embark on a journey towards oneself.



Davide Monteleone (b. 1974, Italy) is an artist and storyteller using photography and video as his main forms of expression. Since 2003, he has lived between Italy and Russia pursuing long-term independent projects, mainly focusing on the post-Soviet area. He published his first book Dusha, Russian Soul in 2007, followed by La Linea Inesistente, in 2009, Red Thistle in 2012 and Spasibo in 2013. He is engaged with educational activities, regularly lecturing at universities and teaching workshops internationally. Davide is a member of the VII Photo agency. His work has been widely exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London; Rencontres de Arles, France; Museo Trento e Rovereto Rovereto, Italy; Palazzo Esposizioni - Rome, Italy; House of Photography, Hamburg, Germany; MEP, Paris, France. This is his first show with ILEX Gallery.



Arctic Coordinates


ILEX Gallery @ 10b Photography Gallery, Rome, Italy
Via San Lorenzo da Brindisi 10b
Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 9.30 - 13.30/15.00-19.00 | Closed on Sat and Sun


For more information:
Email: info@ilexphoto.com
Tel: 06 7030 6913