The first time I saw a photograph by Massimo Vitali was at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2009 as part of a Martin Parr exhibition. The exhibition was on two floors; on the first floor there was Parr’s solo show, “Luxury”, and on the ground floor there was a selection from Martin Parr’s private collection with prints from different artists, including many documentary photographs.
It was a picture from the Disco series. I didn’t know anything about this series. I knew his beaches well, known and imitated just as Parr’s photography was. But I didn’t know Massimo’s night.
Usually when something really strikes you in a show, whether it’s photos or paintings, if you don’t know the artist you immediately look at the name on the label. But when something really overwhelms you, you don’t even think about it. You just look at the artwork. There will be, later on, the time to understand who did it.