Photo Essay


Giants No. 11


a project of 17 images

The setting for this work is apparently a natural history museum. The visit begins in the video room. The video on the display shows the image of some men, some archaeologists working on the discovery of a giant humanoid skeleton. Room after room, the visitors find themselves among disproportionate sized insects, abnormal crab claws and shells, anomalous octopuses, dolphins and terrestrial mammals, up to almost mythological sized humanoid skeletons. The visitors, however, do not appear disturbed by what they are looking.

The path is confusing, with no apparent order, as it happens sometimes when visiting museums. In some pictures we see the same locations of the previous or following photographs (the shots were performed in a single model by placing the camera inside and moving it in the various rooms). Other images are frontal shots of walls that house specimens, without a trace of what precedes or follows.

A figure is present in each photograph: a man dressed in blue (the main character of all my Rooms series). His function is dual: besides visiting the Museum and its exhibition, he is an observer of all the people that surround him. He inspects, scrutinizes his fellow men, sometimes aloof, sometimes lost between them, with curiosity or perhaps uneasiness, that is what I feel when visiting museums. I always find that scientific collections have a sinister and claustrophobic charm: it happens to me to feel in distress and to have fear of losing myself and couldn't find the exit.

There are no windows. There is no natural light. There is no trace of an entry or an exit to any external world. The architectures are deliberately exaggerated compared to the size of the figures. The rooms open and close over each other accentuating the idea of a place that is not easy to get out from. The choice of light is in favour of the installations. All intends to talk about how people, reduced to microscopic appearances within the museum spaces, are secondary to the "show" of the installations and the "show" of the objects that are exposed. The latter ones become important, imposing, and dominate the scene.

The visitors, at a certain point, notice something that catches their attention: few, at the beginning, then growing in number, they walk in a single direction, neglecting the rest of the collection. Only in the last photo we are allowed to see what they have noticed before us: in a break in the walls, where maybe another creature should have been exposed, appear the face and the hand of an even bigger creature (the author-creator), who observes everything and everyone. The visitors are not scared: on the contrary, as they had followed a calling, they appear static in front of who or what is watching them.

In the first image the visitors observe a window, the video showing the discovery of a giant skeleton. In the last image it is the window (the man) that observes the visitors that are nothing more than an integrated part of the exhibition. They simply are what they are: miniatures. What previously had immense sizes compared to the little figures, gets a new dimension compared to the author-creator-observer, and this last is maybe small compared to what remains hidden in the dark over his shoulders and which, in turn, is observed by the outside observer, the actual user of the images.

Among the figures, static in front of the author-creator-observer, only the anomalous one, the man dressed in blue, does not to follow the others when they look the "thing" that had attracted them. He is not directed to the author-creator-observer, but toward the viewer of the images. And to this one, perhaps, he looks with even more curiousity.

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—The JPG team

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