ENG / ITA
PHOTOGRAPHY INTERPRETING DECADENCE’S PAINTING *
When it was born, in January 1839, photography could not have imagined that its ambiguous relationship to painting would soon give rise to the war of image. The first results of this new expressive medium, of which the only practical function was seen as vulgar by many, could not break the intellectual wall created by the figurative arts: photography took its first steps as the "humblest servant" of sciences and arts. Among the various means overcoming status, the provocative experience of Pictorialism tried to free the young girl made from albumin and colloid forced to clean the floors of the major arts. Hence some photographers dressed their models in order to evoke Flemish and Roman scenes, making ephebic and languid nudes eternal, exploring a new language.
This photographic project cannot and should not be related to those remote struggles; today photography lives serving the creative spirit, proving to be something more than memory's sturdy appendix. Every shot comes from the synthesis of the formative path of two young artists that are longingly dedicated to painting, scenography, photography and cinema. The colours and atmospheres of fin de siècle paintings are renewed through the strong colours of the contemporary interpretations, thus colliding with the eyes of a déjà-vu engaged observer.
The images are a result of hard work, from the realisation of scenographies to the cleverly composed shots worked out in every phase, to the interpretation of those beauties that seem little by little to consume themselves because of a mysterious illness of the soul… Photography is the same fatal woman portrayed in Klimt's, Shiele's and Casas' paintings, the reflection on the retina of a humanity drowned in an uncertain condition.
The images, the offspring of the research of lost time, reveal the "panic for the inevitable deception that enmeshes our lives, the total ruinous fall in this terrible condition" (Auerbach) that is renewed in the silence of the contemporary shots. In a time of political and cultural crisis, the dusty atmosphere of the atelier transforms itself into the glossy patina of the photograph without losing the sensation of the cliff from which the artist inevitably falls. The melancholy of a look lost in another dimension, the boredom, the spleen evoked in the works reveal the sensitivity of new artistic means which were being questioned and discussed at the time when these paintings were being realised. The immortality of Schiele's models, the bitter mystery of Klimt's women, the enigmatic muses of minor artists live again in a new form touching with their sighs the contemporary image.
Anna Giulia Volpato
* Text for the Solo Exhibition "The Essence of Decadence"