Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Massimo Vitali - New Work

Due Sorelle Motor Boats, 2011  C-print,  240 x 320 cm
18 NOVEMBER 2011 – 28 JANUARY 2012

Massimo Vitali will unveil a striking new collection of photographs in his first UK solo exhibition since 1997 on 18 November at Brancolini Grimaldi.

Vitali has become one of the most celebrated contemporary photographers worldwide, renowned for his large colour prints depicting the crowded beaches and shorelines of the Mediterranean Sea. However, this new series focuses on the natural – rocks, cliffs, waterfalls, caves and quarries. Holidaymakers have been reduced to mere dots, hovering uncomfortably on the shore, or taking shelter in the shadow of monumental natural landmarks. Seen from such a distance, these crowds mimic colonies of mammals – huddles of seals or penguins - washed up on the rocks. The power of nature comes to the fore – in one image people are literally replaced by crashing waves as the tide moves in. Everything is now in flux and the old certainties have been washed away. Our frailty in the face of such power is thrown into focus and we are forced to confront our mortality and our inability to resist the forces of nature.

Vitali started his series of large format photographs at a specific moment in Italian history: 1994, the year in which Berlusconi came to power. He has said of this moment, “I wanted to look into the faces of the people that voted for Berlusconi and see if I could understand why. My photography comes from absolute matter-of-fact situations, but also from a deep curiosity that I possess for people, for what they do and how they think.” For Vitali, the beach was a place where the mundane and everyday merges with natural beauty, and where he could confront Italians in a place of vulnerability. The images reflect a sense of freedom, even hedonism, but also a sense of conformity and even banality. In the background, industrial buildings such as factories and warehouses loom, a reminder that the escape to nature is temporary and artificial.

Over the last 15 years, the subtle shift in Vitali’s work from crowds to sparsely populated landscapes, seems an attempt to understand how we can avoid colonising that which makes our environment meaningful and balanced, and an almost Romantic vision of the sublime power of nature.

About the artist:

Vitali was born in Como, Italy, in 1944. After studying photography at the London School of Printing he worked as a photojournalist in the early sixties and enjoyed a career in cinematography for television and cinema in the 1980s. His training in cinematography had a major influence on the way he approached photography when he returned to it in the mid 90s, particularly in the high level of technical precision he demanded in his image-making. After working with large format photography in 1993, Vitali commenced his series of Italian beach panoramas in 1995, coinciding with a period of dramatic political change in Italy. Since then he had major solo exhibitions around the world and his prints are included in various major international collections. Massimo Vitali currently lives and works in Lucca, Italy, and in Berlin, Germany.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brancolini Grimaldi at Paris Photo 2011 stand B30

Paris Photo 2011

Thursday 10 November - Sunday 13 November
Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris Booth B30