CAMeC Centro Arte Moderna e Contemporanea is about to inaugurate a new exhibition phase, in which the whole museum will be occupied with projects illustrating a single artistic language in its various contemporary expressions. The new exhibition approach was conceived by Francesca Cattoi, the museum art consultant since 2013, and it underlines the technical aspect of making art, the challenges and potential intrinsic to the medium used which, for this first cycle of exhibitions, is photography.
The world can be looked at and represented in various different ways. Jacopo Benassi and Cristiano Guerri look at it through the camera. They have in common the passion and the urgency to express the result of their scrutiny with images which speak for them.
They were both born in La Spezia. Their talent has taken them all over the world; they have met people and visited places which have remained impressed on paper or floating in the web, and have made their names in the national and international art and publishing scenes.
In time they have built up a circle of friends and creative collaborations which have fed their photographic production. These cultural experiences have enriched their work and the stories they tell, creating a coherent, meaningful body of images.
These are the premises underlying the choice of a double solo show Due visioni — Two visions: Jacopo Benassi and Cristiano Guerri, set up on the first floor of the CAMeC Centre of Modern and Contemporary Art of La Spezia, where the whole exhibition area of all three floors is being used for several months to present various aspects of photography.
Although both artists are endowed with strong passion and deep sensitivity, their photos could not be more dissimilar; they are contrasting visions of the world, but somehow they mirror each other and are both charged with strong expressive emotion.
Benassi goes into life through the flesh, the living pulp of things. He prefers black and white and the large format. He conceives his images as an obsessive sequence of faces, places, bodies, houses. The use of the flash makes his photos extreme, as they explore the intimate recesses of the people portrayed, seeking and finding that hidden place halfway between the glorious and the grotesque, the real and the imaginary, the respectable and the borderline, which is in each one of us. He loves public places, above all those where people go to enjoy themselves. Celebrities and common folk alternate in front of his lens, documenting the Italian and European underground scene of the last few years.
Guerri hears the surface screeching under his feet. He records the quakes, but his mechanical eye manages to control this instability by seeking out a formal balance which is typical of his art. He prefers colour, smaller printing formats and the search for the beauty which underlies everything. He has a natural inclination for elegance, while he finds inspiration in close relationships, in the family, also exploring natural landscapes dominated by various shades of green. The resulting atmosphere is tranquil, calm, suspended, halfway between mystery and uneasiness about what might be hidden behind that foliage, those innocent cottages, that hair covering the face.
The two visions of Benassi and Guerri meet in the central room of the first floor, while in an adjacent room, in an intimate, familiar atmosphere you can flick through the photographic magazines produced by them: AntiBtomic publishing and Btomiczine for Benassi and 0_100 Editions for Guerri. These create a conceptual connection to the exhibition on the ground floor Leggere fotografie — Reading photographs, dedicated to the art book and independent publishing.
So this is not only a homage to two undoubtedly valuable artistic personalities but also the celebration of local, specifically La Spezia, art which however keeps a constant eye on contemporary photographic expressions of this age of globalisation, digitalisation and social networks.
Information and credits
Curated by Jacopo Benassi, Francesca Cattoi, Cristiano Guerri
Corporate image: Marco Cendron, Pomo
Dates: December 8th 2013 – June 1st 2014