(Multi) form photography

“MEDIAEVO”, a “work in progress” project by eclectic Florentine photographer Emiliano Scatarzi, initially sprang from thought on the approach to vision, an almost subliminal perception of information that may derive from deep-seated levels of reality, emerging from the relationship with television, and developing in the field of media power. The project began as a personal investigation, conducted in total freedom, as a form of therapeutic evasion during a career schizophrenically divided between advertising photography and committed, militant reportage. His photographs of the television screen are made using a technique based on polaroid manipulation, with a successive stage of reproduction and printing on canvas, or incorporation into synthetic materials. The evocative images suggest more than they describe. The spectator is free to experience the vagaries of his or her own personal references, while inexorably and skilfully guided by the artist’s desired train of expressive thought. This sense of direction is provided above all by the texts linked to the images, short titles, brief captions, with poetical, epigrammatical value. The title reveals the image and links it to the element of profound reality to which it refers, but it also provides a clue for the many possible interpretations. The observer is accompanied by cultured, impolite irony, with the degree of sobriety necessary – as all children know – for a truly effective game, and which does not exclude deeply felt reflection. Often this thought is bitter, perhaps pervaded by a feeling of unresigned
indignation, while on other occasions it reveals a sense of true defeat. The references are never univocal, but layered; never banal, ephemeral or pretentious. The project as a whole, based on tastes and techniques refined during years of advertising photography, does not deny the valence of photographic narration. In the finest tradition of reportage, it explores the themes dear to all reporters: war, social habits, universal injustice… The images and texts are interlinked in an intersecting and mutually-communicative relationship. Each refers to the others, and together, they create a narrative. They are like fragments, apparently disordered, but in actual fact taking on an introduction-development-conclusion structure. Over the years, this project has grown on its own, independently and rebelliously, gradually conquering a position of significance and independence in the artist’s design concept, becoming a milestone in his creative career, and possibly representing the combination of his two worlds that co-exist without simultaneity. The images, on different materials and in different sizes, for different uses, lend themselves to highly flexible interpretations of their meanings. The same image may take on a profound, conceptual significance in one work, while possessing a purely decorative, far lighter value in another. But the work as a whole continues to grow, fuelled by new chapters on the wave of a hermeneutic, visionary energy, continuously supplied by the desire to take sides when faced with the great problems of the world. It seems to be accompanied, in any case, by an abstract of its significance. While in the two-dimensional nature of the large canvases, the meaning of the image is given to the observer on a silver plate, this meaning is condensed by the prints on acetate and their transformation into three-dimensional objects, which preserve it in their physical heart. The entire project, which is not devoid of intellectual values, transmits the precepts of an intense and authoritative critique of the less pleasant features of the contemporary world, as if in a modern Dantesque cycle of poetry.

© Paola Riccardi (Grazia Neri)


Emiliano Scatarzi
A View in Pandora’s Box

Emiliano Scatarzi’s exhibition proposes a group of critical contemporary portraits. His digital photographs focus on social icons and ideologically charged individuals. He is not afraid to point out critical issues on war, poverty, media idols, or crucial matters that gravely affect us and our society. The military, -generals, soldiers, militia, -stand out with violent and provocative attitudes. Media idols, TV anchors, TV beauties, set their fake installments to shape the minds of masses. Powerless elderly figures navigating in their own loneliness show their weakest social stanza. Scatarzi has a sensitive eye that connects us to the most hidden social world where people are abandoned to their own solitude or to their existential or social starvation. In the show, the spectator is confronted to strong predicaments of society.
Scartarzi’s pictorial approach to photography creates a peculiar visual effect on the images. We observe changes of color in the form of thick ‘impastos’ transforming the photographic field into a nuanced color field. With an impressionistic approach, the photographs show a sort of pictorial ‘brushstroke’ that create ambiguity and fussiness in the scene. The identity of the personage is blurred through a ‘trompe l’oeil’ of altered forms and shapes. Deceitful distortions have taken place. It is hard to recognize physical traits or specific characteristics. The spectator must keenly push his eye beyond traditional perception.
The work ‘1984’ (In The Target) shows an immense cyclopean eye intensively staring at us, with ultimate judging and threatening gaze. This overwhelming and powerful eye seems to over-watch and control all. Maybe as an allegory to the controlling powers of society over individuals? Maybe symbolizing the hegemony of governments over humans in the George Orwell sense?
Scatarzi’s proposal reflects on cultural politics. His work conveys a sharp critique on social power and its domination over people.

Curated by Milagros Bello, Ph.D

Signature Art Gallery at Hardcore Art Contemporary Space
3326 North Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida 33127

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