Art Statement




© From MY ART STATEMENT written by Anna Paola Pizzocaro and Published on Flash Art Magazine n# 290 May-June 2013 (Copyrighted 2013).



Photography was born towards the end of the nineteenth century as an artistic practice, due to technical reasons its use was mainly restricted to the professional photographers, pictures were meant to portray the upper class and testify the historical events for nearly a century.

In the second half of the twentieth century, more precisely in the aftermath of the Second World War, a new photographic culture arises, it is made by amateurs whose practice will deeply influence the artistic creation in the years to come.

In 1948 there was a sudden unexpected explosion in the use of photography. At that time the first Polaroid cameras were introduced on the market, these cameras allowed the user to get a positive print of the desired photo just in a few seconds and thus the 35 mm compact cameras from brand companies like Contax, Kodak, Leica were made available to the families, to the non-professionals.
The cameras were built and destined for family use, glimpses of images were meant to catch important family moments such as birthdays, holidays or business trips which could then be remembered and passed on to future generations.

Although these devices were not cheap they immediately became hugely successful to the extent that, after the television and video outbreak on the international market in the late 60s, they will give birth to a new phenomenon affecting the evolution of the artistic medium : big Japanese companies such as Fuji and Sony are also investing into photography for general public use and, therefore, the 35mm reflex cameras are put on the market at competitive prices. The other brand companies are forced to lower their prices and photography becomes then a popular art.
The answers of the artists to this phenomenon can already be perceived at that time in America. In the 60s some photographer-artists share that random feature so typical of the amateur genre and they use it in their own style.

At the end of the 60s the photo slide is also put on the market and made available to the public.
It was introduced to the masses for economic and aesthetic reasons and, thanks to its bright colors and to its cheap development, it immediately raised an interest in art and became the protagonist of the so-called installations, where the transience of the projection is used by artists such as John Cage in a masterly manner.
But what is the artists reaction?
The artists realize almost immediately that the digital tool features a new media message which was impossible to get through with the previous film photography.
The digital pictures offer an immediate easy access to a wide range of photo editing and it is possible to catch here a first glimpse of the elements which will lead the digital evolution and influence the artistic means.

A question arises then : Does photography in itself still represent and testify the reality of the world around us or not?
The picture manipulation made possible by digital devices pushes the artists to play with the relationship between the various media. It is the era of the hybrid picture, you can legitimately ask yourself whether we are looking at a photograph, or watching a movie snapshot or a 3D image. 

As far as my artwork is concerned, the digital work of composition and of editing using photoshop is preferred over traditional techniques. I like to use the film support with an old optical bench and compose my picture using virtual images entirely created in 3D or other pictures captured by a digital camera and define then the whole using a very common editing program such as photoshop.
For example, in my work  Unanswered prayers some parts of the pictures were photographed in the analogical and traditional manner on the optical bench using a low sensitivity film,  some scenes were then virtually computer edited and later animals, water and people were added using 3D or digital cameras to create a hybrid photographic image.

Nevertheless, in contrast to what one might think even the New York apartment is the result of a series of a nearly invisible photo editing.
My aesthetic concept is based on preferring those daily life scenes that seem apparently trivial, moments that may be part of a dull daily moment and which can then be distorted with an incredible or catastrophic event. (Such as the introduction of a massive water flow in a New York flat on a sleepy morning). This aspect is influenced by that cinematic aesthetics typical in Hitchcock movies, in fact, almost in any of his scripts he takes a single ordinary event and, by adding a detail, he transforms the whole situation into a series of extraordinary events. 
Let's recall for example the 1956 movie The Man Who Knew Too Much where a married couple on holiday is accidentally caught in a murder, whose consequences will also include their son's kidnapping, before the final happy ending occurs. 

Or let's take the 1959 movie North by Northwest where Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is an advertising executive who is mistaken for a counter-espionage secret agent, George Kaplan, and who is then hunted both by the espionage organization determined to kill him and by the police who believe him to be a murderer. On his way, he stumbles first into a woman, Eve, who plays an ambiguous role in the story, and later into the actual members of the counterespionage who eventually ask for his help.
Movies have a remarkable influence on my work, actually my series Unanswered Prayers that I presented at the Lu.C.C.A. Center of Contemporary Art in March 2012 was developed as if it was a movie storyboard. This was my first museum solo exhibition, the show was curated by Maurizio Vanni, Art Critic and Curator of international reputation.

In my representations the characters are caught in un-dramatic poses, they assume natural daily positions such as the awakening, thinking, fear, suspension, those feelings we get glancing through a family album. Is it an album to be handed over to the survivors? Even when the characters are flying they are portrayed as if a friend or a family member was taking photos, the woman whose poses imitate those of the girls in the fashion magazines, or the guy whose positions remind of the photos of the bodybuilders or sports magazines. The characters keep an incredulous attitude as the events unfold although, in order to find their way out, they cannot deny this reality.

These aspects of my aesthetics are a tribute to the amateur photography whose persistence made possible such a fast diffusion of the digital photography. I think the amateur photography is historically rooted in this predominant phenomenon of the digital photography, therefore I consider it appropriate to pay homage to it through my work. 

My photo editing remains nevertheless sophisticated, basically my idea is to have a witness to the event who would take instant shots because he is there, he sees the flood in a New York apartment with flamingos and zebras wandering through the rooms, or when the seals are playing in the room of mirrors and have fun while the tragedy is actually happening and the water is rising.
The water rises so much that the apartment is completely flooded and thus we have "underwater" views. And again here, the underwater views must give the impression the shots were taken by a group of newly licensed guys on a trip during a diving holiday. The human bodies, while stepping out of the apartment in a state of unconsciousness, start floating in the air. 

The digital media is fascinating, and we must be aware that from a material object such as the film we switched to the notion of an ideal virtual object, constantly in evolution, where everything is possible and new ways of expression are just towards us.