Seas the Day

Life’s a beach—but then, unfortunately, you die. There is something ominous in Massimo Vitali’s panned-out, colour drenched photographs of people soaking up the sun: these are not pretty Instagram posts (although you can imagine them being popular there), but reminders of our puny presence against nature’s indomitable grandeur. In the Italian post war photographer’s latest series of work something threatens the breathtaking scenery: us.


Charlotte Jansen

Disturbed Coastal Systems

The tension between human habitat and the natural world is always present in Vitali’s work, yet is even more emphasized in the current pictures. In one, the massive Praia da Torre Fortress shadows a beach in Portugal; in another, the Praia do Moinho juts out into the water, less protective than glowering—though whether it menaces the ocean or the swimmers depends on your point of view. Concrete pools box off becalmed sections of water from adjacent rivers and seas, or a concrete pier juts out beyond a beach, its hard rectangular lines in unavoidable contrast—conflict?—with the sinews of sand and surf. What land is visible is often sere and forbidding: rock cliffs in which wispy shrugs have taken tentative hold, gravelly beaches, lumpy hills covered in dry grass.

Press release of the exhibition "Disturbed Coastal Systems" at the Benrubi Gallery, New York, April 20 - June 17, 2017.


Benrubi Gallery

The Meter of the World

The consumers of free time portrayed by Vitali denounce a dialectic relationship between social or individuals’ needs, and real needs, between the “quality of life” and the “quantity of consumption.”


Stefano Pezzato

Feet in the Water

The crowd reassembled under the lens of Vitali is characterized by its frightening banality. The suspension of the judgement by the artist reinforces this uneasiness: we are in front of as many mysteries as people.


Sophie Blass-Fabiani

Jack Kerouac in Milan, 1966

So, the 28th of September Kerouac came to Italy, for only 76 hours, because he needed 800 dollars to pay the rent and with the other 200 he would pay for part of his mother’s hospital bills. On the plane he drank whiskey which immediately had a bad effect on him; an editorial bureaucrat who was escorting him and whose name I have never known said to him that he was “making an ass of himself”, he was giving a very bad impression, and that by showing up drunk he wouldn’t earn the money of the Italian editor honestly.


Fernanda Pivano

Suspended Spaces

Massimo's view is "panoramic", but it remains immobile. It suggests trips within spaces that look empty, but actually "were emptied". (The space only comes to life one Sunday evening, along a tree-lined riverbank. The Germans take snapshots of each other, leaving their history in the background).


Cesare Colombo

Massimo Vitali in Conversation

Students from the Lawrence Academy Groton visited Massimo Vitali's studio on March 10, 2017.
He talked about photography, life and successful ideas.


Editor

What’s between Your Fingers but that World into which You Have Thrust Your Hand?

One wonders how long it took for the others-most of the people in the scene-not to stare at the photographer on his giant podium. In digital processing, of course, it would be possible to eliminate anyone looking at the camera. Indeed, it would be possible to generate everything digitally in both pictures. The supernaturally sharp, bright, wood, and deep vista does seem a little faked, like a postcard or poster that has been touched up, whiter by airbrush (analog) or software (digital).


Whitney Davis

Unease of the Normal

Reality has always been interpreted through the reports given by images; and philosophers since Plato have tried to loosen our dependence on images by evoking the standard of an image-free way of apprehending the real. In today’s society we really live under the supremacy of images. It is not reality but images as conceptions that reproduce the illusion. Vitali, however, uses exactly images/photographs to debunk the illusion of reality.


Alan Kostrenčić

Millimeter after Millimeter

While many reduce photography to a formal symbol of itself in order to find a rhetoric close to that painting, Vitali produces images that adhere "millimeter after millimeter" to their photographic nature.


Daniel Soutif