Masquerades as Reality

The traffic in signs is a shifting and constantly reforming visual landscape, a mixture of the histories that form us and the politics that define us. On these journeys and journeyings, a camera has usually preceded us, often accompanies us, and inhabits our material and mental worlds. In the photographic image an imaginary world masquerades as reality, but in that masquerade something of the world’s magical strangeness might reside in the most familiar of encounters: a day at the beach a night at the club.

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Jon Bird

A Chat on Photography

In this video, I’m talking with Enrico Ratto about my work and photography in general. I talk about my obsessions, impostors, pictures that I hate and much more.

Sorry, the interview is in Italian! If you don’t understand the language, you will need to wait until next week for a new post.

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Massimo Vitali & Enrico Ratto

Digital vs. Analog

Massimo Vitali's diptych of the Sao Paolo market in Brazil highlights the dichotomy of digital vs. analogue photography and its various implications. One photograph is taken with analogue film and one with a digital camera, leaving the viewer to contemplate the minimal difference between the two images. The artist's intent is to provoke in the viewer a series of reflections specifically on the medium employed and more generally on the larger idea of representation.

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Alessandro Romanini

Portraying the Ephemeral

But a logical sequence is continually escaping, always referring back to that disorder, which we are undeniably fascinated by and which offers us the ephemeral opportunity to cut out a temporal space in our lives that is free from financial and social conditioning. Vitali’s photos tell of this desire, white and undefined just as in our dreams.

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Valentina Muscedra

Marseille

"Marseille isn't a city for tourists. There's nothing to see. Its beauty can't be photographed. It can only be shared. It's a place where you have to take sides, be passionately for or against. Only then can you see what there is to see. And you realize, too late, that you're in the middle of a tragedy. An ancient tragedy in which the hero is death. In Marseille, even to lose you have to know how to fight."
Jean-Claude Izzo, Total Chaos.

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Editor

Domenica

A number of large-format Italian views from his famous Beach Series are now on display at Palais Metternich. Due to their ethereal or even surreal exquisiteness, Due Sorelle Motor Boat (2013) and Bassa Trinità Blue Ball (2013) fit in very well with the elegant atmosphere of the Garland Salon. On the other hand, Rosignano Night (1995), packed with a crowd of people, and the somewhat unwieldy Livorno Calafuria (2002) have been installed in the Battle Salon, named after a monumental painting attributed to Nicola Mario Rossi that shows Vienna’s liberation from the Turks in 1683.

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Marcello Farabegoli

2004

In Travelling light: Photography, Travel and Visual Culture, Peter D. Osborne describes the beach as a place on the periphery: "As a site of cultural meanings the holiday beach tends to be associated with the liminal. It stands literally, literally at both the social and geographical edge. It is fluid, part nature and part out, spaced-out, a slip of land where society leaves its slip showing where things split out…" As a separate space, the beach gives individuals the opportunity to relax unencumbered by clothes or quotidian tasks, and as such has long drawn photographers, such as Paul Martin and Weege, focused on capturing the working classes at leisure.

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Matthew Trygve Tung

1994

We met Massimo Vitali for the first time in the spring of 1994. Chiasso was on his way to Germany, and at that time he travelled a lot - for love - from his home in Marina di Pietrasanta in Italy. During one of his visits to the gallery, he showed us his first images, the kernels of what would become the "Spiagge italiane" project. These works contained black-and-white landscapes of panoramic proportions, showing riverbanks in Eastern Germany as viewed from the water, maybe from a boat.

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Daniela and Guido Giudici

Changing Status

“When I first started taking pictures, beaches had no connotations. They were places where people could not think about anything, and be totally at ease.” Today, the same beaches are still holiday destinations, he says, but they are also the troubling backdrops of the European migrant crisis. For Vitali, an artist who has spent the last two decades documenting holidaymakers along the coastlines of the continent, as well as further afield, the beach has become a looking glass into the heart of the lives of Europeans. Of the current political climate, Vitali notes: “There is a vague sense of doom.”

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Caolan Blaney

History of Photography

Massimo Vitali: Everyday about 350 million photographs are uploaded on Facebook. Isn’t that a crazy number? Just think of the number of pictures taken every day, incredibly much higher. But: this doesn’t mean that people know more about photography than they did 20 years ago.

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Lisa Ortner-Kreil