Volume Doppio, 1919 – in corso
Volume Doppio is the first project in the Mountain Scenarios series. In this inaugural episode, Andrea Lerda talks with the artist.
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN THE ARTIST AND ANDREA LERDA
Landscape is a central theme of your photographic research and I use this term because in your works the photographic image, more than the process that leads to its construction, takes a leading role.
In the project Double Volume, to which you are working from 2019, and to which, to date, belong three works, you focus on the mountain landscape, dear to you for attitude and geographical proximity.
A landscape that, it seems to me, is not understood in its aesthetic and natural meaning, but as a construction (perhaps anthropic).
In Volume Doppio you have chosen a net for climbing plants and you have placed it on the surface of some presences that you have met during your walks in the mountains. The operation you carry out is to identify a small portion of the landscape and intervene on it to give shape to a new aesthetic and semantic construction.
After having positioned this alien element, you photograph the subject and, only afterwards, you reproduce it with a drawing on tracing paper. What you do is to create, to all intents and purposes, a new “layer”, necessary to add a key to the starting image.
That’s right, what I create is a reading level, not a new one, but one that conforms to the thought of tampering with the perception of the landscape by inserting an element and then hiding it. I thus make this scene visible only through my photographic image and the testimony in the form of a drawing of the “intruding” element. After all, it is no different from the testimony of a valley before and after its urban construction. These are elements that distinguish it and make the image recognizable and attributable to a place.
Your curiosity to understand how an element can change and constrain the reading of the landscape makes me think of the curiosity of an architect or an urban planner in imagining the relationship between architecture, the city and the experience of living.
I transport in this sense the reflection on the relationship between man and the mountain environment, taking up the concept of “landscape as a project” by Massimo Venturi Ferriolo, which seems to me significant if put in relation with Volume Doppio.
“Man can modify in a certain direction the environment that surrounds him. This faculty is linked to his existence. Anticipating the possibility of acting on the environment, foreseeing, arranging, planning, ordering, predetermining, organizing the elements, as the way of being and acting of those who resort to possibility, is to make use of the project; it means imagining a different reality, choosing the means to realize it.” (M.V. Ferriolo, Etiche del paesaggio, editori Riuniti, Rome, 2002, p.15).
I find the quote you quoted beautiful. It speaks exactly of what fascinates me in the landscape, the construction of a possible scenario is what I extrapolate from the scene and the landscape itself. The relationship to architecture is right on and comes accordingly. After all, what is architecture if not two vertical boulders and a horizontal one? We modify the horizon of perception from the origin of time by building, analyzing and experimenting. I build, analyze and experiment exactly as a primitive man builds his house and an architect develops his urban master plan. The mountain is the necessary pretext to talk about all this and to have a circular look at what surrounds us, real or artifacted by my hand.
“The mountain is one of the ways to escape global warming,” writes Luca Mercalli in his latest book Salire la montagna (Giulio Einaudi Editore, 2020) A place of refuge for the future, a laboratory for configuring new imaginaries and cosmologies. The image of the mountain that emerges from your works underlines, in my opinion, its condition of fragility but, at the same time, of “open yard” and in constant transformation. What is the mountain for you and in what way can contemporary creativity, in your opinion, contribute to stimulate collective thought and create new narratives?
The mountain for me has always symbolized redemption, the place where I go and return to purify myself, my Mecca, my St. Peter’s, I work on it well and with effort. I can’t give a higher point of view for the community. However, I believe that respect for high altitude is necessary, redemption cannot become colonization even in these places because they are already inhabited by a deeper history, buried in the pages of humanity and rocky sediments. It must be understood, used and sometimes told. Today this landscape becomes a playground in winter and a summer resort. That’s fine. Let’s preserve and use these places, let’s go back to live in them because the descent on the black slope lasts a few minutes, the ascent much more. Art, I don’t know if it has anything to do with all this, but talking about it is already part of it. Let’s find out.
Marco Schiavone, Turin (1990), grew up in the lower Susa Valley. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cuneo in the class of graphics. In 2015 with a group of artists he founded Spaziobuonasera, artist-run space in Turin. The artistic research is developed with the theme of landscape and the value of the image.
In 2020 he was selected by CAMERA as an emerging artist for Futures Photography; finalist for the FFF Fondazione Francesco Fabbri award (2019). His works have been shown in exhibitions in Italy and abroad: Photo Open Up, Museo Eremitani, Padova; Audi Studio by Nevven Gallery, Stockholm; Villa Vertua Masolo, Milan; Spaziosiena, Siena; LOFT, Lecce; Las Palmas, Lisbon; Galleria Giuseppe Pero, Milan; BASIS, Frankfurt; Spaziobuonasera, Turin.