Redesigning the Space

On display are two large photos with dark tones by Massimo Vitali. Through people, the presences that populate his photograph and make it immediately recognizable, Vitali redesigns the space, remeasures it through another category. His is a social, highly anthropized space that we can connect to his education.

“Vitali redesigns the space, remeasures it through another category. His is a social, highly anthropized space that we can connect to his education.”

On display are two large photos with dark tones by Massimo Vitali, the first Ponta dos Mosteiros Dark (2018) was taken in the Azores Islands, an archipelago in the Atlantic with a temperate climate. On the peaks of the volcanoes it rains almost every day and on the beach it’s sunny almost every day. Here the light employed is natural. The rocky background of volcanic origin is so dark that the colors of the swimwear and objects stand out. Here everything is lava, everything is hard and sharp, and light changes very quickly.
It is as if through people, the presences that populate his photograph and make it immediately recognizable, Vitali redesigns the space, remeasures it through another category. His is a social, highly anthropized space that we can connect to his education. “Human presences, which are what attracts me the most, have a major influence on the space that surrounds them. My photos represent a mix between the architecture of the landscape and the influence man has on landscape itself”¹. Human presence, also in this case, colorful and normalizing, defuse the situation. So does the man in the blue swimwear who becomes a sort of punctum, to quote Roland Barthes.

“The two pictures have in common the slightly dark tones, making reference to the history of art, the post-Renaissance era, in which Vitali is interested, when black fully comes into play, as in The Flight into Egypt by Adam Elsheimer from 1609, where an unusual sky appears”

The other picture on show is set in Marseille, Friche de la Belle de May-On Air (2017). It is around 9pm on the rooftop of a former tobacco factory, which, thanks to a smart urban regeneration policy, has been transformed into a space that hosts several activities, from restaurants to exhibitions and recreational spaces.
A disk-jokey is standing on his platform. But, looking closely to the right, the viewer can realize that the weather is changing, a rainstorm is about to arrive. In just half an hour everything we see will no longer exist: it is the impermanence of phenomena. Also in this case Vitali is fascinated by human presences. It is a different ontological modality of space, both from a perceptive and a vital point of view, a modality that could have a relational character.
The two pictures have in common the slightly dark tones, making reference to the history of art, the post-Renaissance era, in which Vitali is interested, when black fully comes into play, as in The Flight into Egypt by Adam Elsheimer from 1609, where an unusual sky appears, which according to some scholars is the result of a telescopic observation perfectly in line with the historical time in which the German artist created the artwork.

1. M. Vitali from a conversation with the curator, Angela Madesani December 2021.

Angela Madesani, curator of the exhibition Ridisegnare lo spazio at Labs Contemporary Art, Bologna, February 12 – April 5, 2022.

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