THE ISLAND, C-print from 4,5 x 6 cm negative, 50cm x 70cm, 2016, ed. of 3 plus 2AP
(courtesy R.M. and Galleria Civica, Modena) | backstage photographs, various dimensions, 2016

This work came from the desire to rework a common and abused image, that of the mythical, romantic island, upsetting the traditional standards of landscape photography. I went to the island of San Secondo, a small deserted island in the Venetian lagoon, and I appropriated its landscape, which became the backdrop on which to install large-format images, printed on paper and then cut out and mounted on rigid supports. The three images came from different sources: the statue was reprint of one of Caterina’s archive of a classical Greek statue taken in a museum in Venice, the wolf was scanned from a nature magazine, and the egg was downloaded from a stock photo site. My aim was to create a sort of real-life Photoshop in which to create a physically real image by combining different kinds of pictures through photography's power of combination. While this kind of collage, the assembly and superposition of different visual levels usually occurs in the studio, my aim was to move this capability outside into the landscape, making use of natural light and constructing a kind of open-air still life.


THE ISLAND, C-print from 4,5 x 6 cm negative, 50cm x 70cm, 2016, ed. of 3 plus 2AP
(courtesy R.M. and Galleria Civica, Modena)

Caterina one day invited me to do a project with Caicio, an association whose goal is the preservation of maritime traditions and skills, especially those of the venetian maritime shipbuilding and rowing tradition. I accepted and asked her to lend me an old boat, just for one day, to reach a remote island: San Secondo.

backstage | photograph by Caterina Gabelli

I always see the island of San Secondo from the train, when I come home from a long or short trip.
It always reminds me of what there is around and before the city I live in every day. Between the stones of the streets, or in the humidity of the walls of Venice, is the echo of an empty lagoon, made of water, plants and birds.

backstage photograph

It is the strongest bond I have with this city, and it became clear to me one day, when from the plane I saw what I usually don't see, but that is there and that exists. Sometimes, while walking in the morning or at dusk,
I can hear its echo, an echo that I have learned to listen to and look for.

backstage | photograph by Caterina Gabelli

I decided to work with Caterina's photographs. She who, like so many people I know, has decided to stay here, despite everything. It was a gesture of re-appropriation. We created her island for an afternoon, combining the landscape of the Secondo with her interior landscape, made of snowmen, baskets and white pyramids.

backstage | photograph by Caterina Gabelli

backstage | Caterina’s island