It is easy to fall into a state of indifference to the world. We become accustomed to those beautiful little gifts our planet offers us and our perception tends to lose its wonder. Our personal willingness to maintain our curious and wide-open gaze will allow us to be constantly aware of the magnificence of our surroundings, spatially and temporarily.
Here to help, artists play a crucial role in reminding us of this everlasting richness, and therefore today we will take a deeper look into the meticulousness of nature captured by Giorgia Filipponi.
Since she was a child, mountains and nature have always been places in which she spent most of her time. She approached photography at an early age, capturing the little marvels that the green surroundings offered. “I spent most of my childhood in the fresh open air of Vallemaggia and stayed by myself a lot. Today, mountains and I share a very special bond.” This closeness to nature significantly shapes her way of making art and her approach to the environment. Ever since she was in elementary school, where she would capture little objects and outdoor subjects with her small camera, photography caught her attention. As she grew up, her artistic instinct and creative intuition became more thoughtful, inspired by photography books, experimenting with video and printmaking, researching ideas, and investigating concepts. Her photographic artwork “Sogni prendono il sopravvento” (Dreams Take Over) undoubtedly holds together what she learned throughout these experimental years, without losing that well-needed raw imaginative impulse.
“In this project, I wanted to distort reality. I wanted to give a different point of view of how the world can present itself in front of the observer.” Looking at the photographs, it is really difficult to understand what subject has been captured, as these vigorous, organic, saturated, and eye-catching images pull our gaze within the picture.
The technique used is also very interesting. “I created these pictures by using a specific photographic development process: I took expired photosensitive paper and laid different types of flowers, leaves and even pieces of onions on top of it. I would then leave the paper in the sun for three to four hours, time enough for the light to imprint the organic forms on the paper’s surface. After that, unusual shapes with watercolor-palette shades would be imprinted on the sheet which I then fixed using a special liquid. I basically used the same process analogical photographs are created with.” Giorgia then pointed out that the photos would be scanned and retouched digitally.
It is often heard that the purity and we might even say the divine aura which makes the expression of art prodigious tends to be ruined in the process of digital modification — such as retouching — making the spontaneity and originality of the work seem skeptical and artificial. I asked her to tell me what she thought about it and how she would defend her use of digital retouching. “My work consists in flipping upside down how we perceive the world we live in. Today’s vast options of mediums for making art allow the artist to experiment and take advantage of what’s available.” In fact, throughout history artists have always been challenged with the mediums available, and those who have managed to master their potential fully and then found themselves in the avant-garde are those who clearly overcame the medium’s limits. “That is why, by finding ourselves in a digital world, digital medium is a technique artists can use to advantage. On the plus side, because the main subject of these photographs is pure and delicate flowers — which I then transformed into something obscure, confusing, and almost enigmatic — the use of digital retouching is key in my project.”
Furthermore, the artist used this photographic technique for a more recent project, called “Qualcosa Di Più Grande” (Something Bigger), at which you can take a sneak peek by looking at the pictures below. Sigmund Freud’s Drive Theory, the color red, snapshots, and passion are key concepts to artistically represent the dualistic perception of reality, one instantaneous and superficial contrasted with one which is much deeper, unconscious, and articulated.
“By creating these projects, I really understood how much photography fascinates me: even by capturing reality in the most realistic way, it can still be transformed and reinterpreted. Nature excites me, it amazes me in its details and precision. I love to enhance that beauty, to make the graciousness of petiteness even more visible.”
Finally, she points out that one day she would love to live surrounded by vast green spaces, such as in the mountains or in the hills. She doesn’t crave a crowded future, but a quiet and peaceful one. “I want to be in a place that will allow me to constantly experiment with my art, surrounded by nature and with a small circle of contacts. You know, few people, but great people. Art is my passion and I want to make a living with it, maybe even in teaching.”
CONTACT AND FOLLOW GIORGIA FILIPPONI