ST. MORITZ.- Galerie Karsten Greve
is presenting ATTESA, a solo show by the Italian artist Mimmo Jodice, which unveils works from his last project Attesa (waiting). This selection is complemented by works from the Natura (Nature) project.
Mimmo Jodice explores the world that surrounds us, lingering on the thresholds of a time undefined. In his black and white photographs, past, present and future intertwine, abandoning all spatio-temporal markers to reach a dimension suspended between what is real and what only seems real. Attesa, his latest project, is the culmination of the research which the artist has been engaged in since the late 1980s, when he chose to forego the human form. From that moment on, and for over 30 years, time and experience have been the focus of his research.
Mimmo Jodice sees the Attesa project as not just a subject or method of investigation, but rather as a way of transforming the very idea of photography into an intellectual and artistic practice, imbued with all the poetic sensibility of the artist. In a world that no longer sleeps, he dwells on the awareness of time. Rows of waiting chairs, open windows, shadows, here only for a brief instant, sublime in their fugacity. A sense of waiting is present in every facet of the works shown, from the actual taking of the photograph to the subject: patiently waiting for the perfect light before clicking the shutter, waiting for the desired balance of detail and nuances in the dark room. The waiting that is apparent in the subjects themselves empty chairs, deserted streets, open windows, desolate urban labyrinths.
Attesa. Opera 4 (2004) appears frozen in the moment. Outside of time, in the rhythm of the horizontal rows of chairs, the composition teeters on abstraction - calm and unagitated. Oblivious to the passage of time, the artist resounds with the peace and silence emanating from it. Empty rows of chairs, the only sign of a presence
- from the past or perhaps from the future. The tension between this silence and the waiting for something unknown has reached a paroxysm, further amplified by the absence of markers, forcing us, too, to slow down and wait.
In the Natura project, time remains uncertain, in a floating state. Instead, the present becomes the focus of Jodice's contemplation. Ancient ruins house flourishing vegetation whose resistance defies civilization. In Tempio di Serapide, Opera I, Pergamo (1994), for example, the plants literally burst out of the painting, completely occupying the space both inside and outside the frame. The two series complement each other through their opposition.
One of the greatest photographers of his generation, Mimmo Jodice is constantly reinventing photography, helping to free it from the boundaries of purely documentary interpretation and emphasize its representative potential. For Attesa, Jodice chose to use carbon printing; the first photographic process not to use silver. Patented in 1855 by Louis-Alphonse Poitevin and known to be extremely stable, it was the most widely used process in the nineteenth century.
This technique enables Jodice to obtain highly contrasted images which offer absolute clarity, thus transforming the camera into what he calls a time machine. What was I thinking before I lost myself in looking? Fernando Pessoas words give us the greatest freedoms; the freedom to look but most of all to see and to feel the time passing, as it lightly makes its presence felt to anyone who attempts such an exercise.
Although they may seem quite different at first glance, both the Attesa and Natura projects reveal the essence of Jodice's visionary approach, in which he creates a reality beyond reality. "Describing his photography is like trying to summarize the subject or theme of a poem, only to realize once again that the beauty of any poem lies precisely in what can only be told through the medium of the poem itself."
Mimmo Jodice was born in Naples, Italy, in 1934 and began photography in 1964-1965, following studies that introduced him to poetry, music and the arts. He gradually gained recognition as a professional photographer during the late 1960s, at the same time pursuing his own personal research. In 1968 he was given his first solo show at the Palazzo Ducale (Urbino). That same year, he started working with Lucio Amelio, Lia Rumma and Peppe Morra, the most innovative art dealers of Naples. This collaboration, which continued until 1985, brought him into contact with artists such as Jannis Kounellis, Joseph Kosuth, Hermann Nitsch, Joseph Beuys, Vito Acconci, Gina Pane and all the artists of Arte Povera. Between 1975 and 1994 he taught at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Naples, one of the first universities in Italy to teach photography. In 2003 Mimmo Jodice became the first photographer to be awarded the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize, by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. In 2011 he was made Chevalier de lOrdre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture. This was also the year of his Les Yeux du Louvre exhibition at the Musée du Louvre (Paris). His work is part of such prestigious collections as those of the Aperture Foundation (New York), the San Francisco Museum of Art (San Francisco) and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia) in the United States; the Museo di Capodimente and the Museo Madre (Naples), and the Castello di Rivoli (Turin) in Italy; the Museum of Contemporary Art (Wakayama) in Japan; and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and the Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris) in France. Galerie Karsten Greve has represented Mimmo Jodice for the past 20 years. He lives and works in Naples.