CRITICS

Titile: Woodland
Author: Martina Corgnati
Year: 2006

A luxuriant tropical plant emerges from the head of a young woman. It appears, the base of the stem grasps her thick hair, the roots thrust directly into her skull sucking the vital lymph of her ideas, dreams and the winding of her neuro-vegetative system. If not for this disturbing element, this image from Marco Bolognesi would be fully typical of fashion photography, the young woman, framed like a classical portrait is clearly a model, her looks betrays the pose, her makeup is excessive and cumbersome. But does “fashion photography” exist? It presence and practicality is amply put into question: What makes it different? Asks himself Claudio Marra for example which characteristic gives it special status, could be the object itself? Is the image buit around the quality of the product (the clothes or accessories) selling itself as an object of deside or certain style or manner (but this would imply that all fashion photographers partake in some way to the same style and manner) or is the context creating the norm, the glossy cover, the ads, the demand and commitment? The idea leaves me perplexed because it demands of us to remove the main object of its force, it demands in other words, that every contamination between different expressive levels (or contexts) should be included beforehand in open contradiction to what’s been happening for many years.

“If there is something that photography doesn’t need is the insinuation that, aesthetically speaking, there are many kinds of photography” warns Marra, “that different issues depending on the diverse genre confronted… the risk taken in this methodological course is heavy because proceeding in this way we might end up outlining an identity founded mainly on technical-linguistic values, values that are nor decisive in contemporary art” (cfr C. Marra, Nelle Ombre di un sogno, Bruno Mondadori, 2004, pg XI).

Contemporary art: this is obviously the field where Bolognesi’s works needs to be included an read to really appreciate its intentions and transgressions, in the case for example of the pseudo-savage with the open body ready to welcome the vegetal life, the images (one of the most recent produced by the artist) use some important topics in fashion, in some way contradicting them in the inside somehow: the glossy surface for example, the straight cut, the model, the accessories. But there’s an anomaly, something’s not right between the body and the covering, rather then being on top of the girl, the accessory has penetrates her, it pervades and distorts every bio-morphological certitude. We don’t know, in other words where the body end and where the piercing, leaf or flower starts. These are hybrids, metamorphic, in someway similar to disquieting surrealist fantasy, for example Delvaux or Meret Oppenheim (of the former, I’m thinking in particular ‘Hand with is growing a mushroom’ or ‘Bird with parasite’).

Of course Marco Bolognesi tries to convince us that his is a legitimate operation: the language is impeccable, the technique perfect, his deployment of accessories, clutches, details absolutely and adequate. But these women do not speak, do not see, maybe they’re not completely human anymore in the common sense of the word, they have sewed eyelids and mouths filled with flowers or iridescences that having invaded internal cavities are now looking for some other vital space. Fascion is of course excessive, sometimes demanding everything even our senses, life itself but Marco Bolognesis’s in not to portray an extreme neo-punk look with a touch of perversity but to provoke languages and to connect them in a kind of functional and emotional short-circuit. For a long time in fact the artist been working on abused codes, on the photographic excess, on the distortions induced by forced communication process, accelerated and diffused. His project requires two strategies opposite in some way: one in based on the obliteration or subtraction of the image, the other on a kind of hyper visibility, patination and addiction. The first method is called ‘Blind eyes’ and Bolognesi has practiced this through the use of Polaroid, instrument for fast and versatile record, perfect to collect sources found on the internet, leftovers of trash messages of fundamentally pornographic type but contaminated by images of stamps, seals, postmarks, cinematographic records (a few faces of actors and actresses on a faded poster) and by pictorial interventions. A world of partial visions, fragmentary and fast, of over imposed layers with no will or attention; a word that Bolognesi tries in every way to mask, cover and fade regaining this way no just an improbable or impossible purity but certainly its implicit nonsense. The hyper visibility goes through territories, in fashion’s images, that the artist himself has opened, little by little, as I’ve said before, beyond the limit of legitimate, namely their declared function, even when continuing using their linguistic codes with nonchalance.

For example in Nina and Nina 2, works that go back a few years, the girl painted completely in black exhibits only the blue of her irises, estranged for contrast and the blade as an earring.
Black on a red background, a chromatic crevice where the identity, the physiognomy even, are lost irremediably in the peremptory force of the image itself.
“Kiss” explores even more in depth the resources of the artifice, the deformed patina of white and black, which plays nearly obsessively with the bodies thrown one against the other. Even more explicit is the series of the ” Beauties” with their oriental faces adorned by colourful flowers but scored by a disturbing and invasive zip. This was maybe the first time that Marco Bolognesi’ s game became explicit, a game of collisions of the senses and images that, apart from beauty, cites Frankenstein and the prosthesis of a synthetic humanity, grasped genially in ” Blade Runner ” and presented again at infinitum even in the historical exhibition” Post Human” by Jeffrey Deitch (1992).

Today in the last series realised by the artist the focus is even more clearer and direct, the contamination more evident: Marco Bolognesi is moving in a direction already taken by for example Inez Van Lamsweerde but his grasp and style are absolutely personal: rather than rigid and ascetic, his bodies are baroque and produce excrescences improper and visible, tears of petals and eyelids of automatic buttons, changeable alterations of form, sometimes slightly sado-maso but always inspired by impeccable touches of tint and taste, sometimes on the green, sometimes on the pink.
There is no morality in these images, or sociologism, or the will, which has inspired a lot of contemporary photographic research, to scandal or shock.
They are works that do not play particularly on explicit sexuality but rather on the paradoxical affirmation of the idea of beauty sustained by strong language, which takes everything, that touch us and assimilate it in a unique and recognisable style.
It’s fashion, art, artifice, exploration of code and visible pleasures, interpretations and independent creations: lets not try to defend ourselves a name, an etiquette. Let us be surprised.ons: lets not try to defend ourselves a name, an etiquette. Let us be surprised.

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