Recover - 2015
This volume contains 30 years of works already published in the volumes: “Berlino Anovantagradi” – 1990; “Le voci di Ampandratokana” – 1991; “Passanti” – 1993; “Istantaneo” – 2001; “Riflessi Incondizionati” – 2003; “Incerto Movimento” – 2007; “Nonritorno” – 2014;
I found again in the images that I shot almost automatically, those kind ways already seen in the works of Robert Doisneau and Willy Ronis, I was morbidly attracted by seizing, stealing, almost tearing away, fragments of life of my subjects. It was a bit like entering a physical, intimate contact with the subject I could steal the soul and the strength that didn't belong to me.
So every moment became a relationship, a story, that instant magically carved on celluloid by light, it no longer remained a two-dimensional trait but was part of me, forever.
From authors like Sebastiao Salgado or Gianni Bordengo Gardin I learned the documentary and evocative value of photographic expression, others like Donal Moleney or Helmut Newton's have transmitted me the form and technique of this communication. Their influences were determined to get closer to what resided within me; but it is from cinema that the stimulus to artistic maturity and definitive awareness has arrived.
"Der Himmel über Berlin" from Wim Wenders' 87 was a shocking experience for me, "The Double Vie de Véronique" by Krzysztof Kieślowski's 91, and then the discovery of authors such as Pedro Almodóvar and François Ozon.
Understand from their work that my photography could be really narrative, the shot was only the epilogue, the synthesis, the provocation to extract a story, a lived experience, a way to extend time and make us immortal.
Finally the encounter with what for me is the sublime work of Anders Petersen and Jürgen Baldiga, the true genius, the accompaniment towards a new point of view; the new visual experience, what manages to move the mind, to open it towards a new possible interpretation. The archetype that manages to make the new "vision" perceptible and tangible, the modeling of an unknown, attractive and inevitable thought, a transport between dreamlike sensations and oblivion.
Nonritorno - 2014
The recurring, obsessive, intangible thought resounds in the photographer's humoral flexions, his vision feeds a shared but abstract perception of reality.
A provocation that comes from afar, remote and hidden in intimacy; when between the pressure of a suffocated identity, enveloped in an impenetrable secular sociality, the photographer explodes into an interior vision projected eternally through an elementary and impenetrable language at the same time.
He uses more authoritative words than his, Luca Grasselli, of authors congenial to him, to melodically accompany the solo of an uprooted image of its meaning brought back to a new, obsessive, excruciating, almost delirious awareness.
Anger and sweetness belong together to the intimacy of the author, and in this work they are expressed in all their extension, exposing us to unusual and unknown visual impulses.
From the first years of exploration, between the domination of the subject and the prevarication of an increasingly blurred view, a new perceptive value is redefined: like stories lived behind an infinite series of misted, wet, scratched glasses, the lights sculpt new episodes that the author hastens to tell through an interpretative key that instantly retraces his entire evolutionary path.
In each of his images it is possible to recognize: anger, in a continuous bold and irreverent provocation; melancholy, towards a past that is still evident but distant; passion, in a strong epidermal exposure towards alterations; and again the sensitivity, revealing every sentimental nuance as the only possible form of expiation.
Just as the poet experiences the melody in the contention of love, Luca Grasselli invades the perimeter of his subjects, it is no longer an external childish observation, his own, but becomes the arrogant presumption of determining the circumstances of photographic fate.
The scene observed with naive curiosity, in the previous works, in "non-return" is prevaricated and reduced to its original oneiric essence but still multi-dimensional.
Here it is, therefore, appearing in the shade among the trees, in the shocked atheism of the rites and religious witchcraft, behind the tormented bed of the escaped lover.
The document dissolved between memory and vision is irremediably contaminated by his own author, perhaps not free from an immortal desire, masked and hidden by a rooted nihilism.
Does metaphysical expression go so far as to deny reality or to be rejected?
An illness, abandonment, regret and life that escapes irretrievably, nothing is tied to a meaning, and photographs, Luca Grasselli's shots remind us of violence, disrespectful and provocative; but still indelible proofs, demonstrations, of the human limit in extracorporeal vision.
Of course he still plays with the extraordinary combinations of light, with intriguing and renewed geometries between reflections, lines and plasticity of the human figure.
And, again, it slips from time to time in the tenderness of a passionate gaze towards those simple and humble gestures that it loves to highlight.
Often his eyes jump, like the needle on an old record, between the curious and childish vision and the mature, pondered, almost ruthless one.
But of his lucid, painful search for beauty, all that remains is the awareness, remarked, towards the point of "non-return".
Incerto Movimento - 2007
Like a novelist who, in a handful of words, presents us with the anxieties, emotions and desires of his protagonist, keeping us glued to the pages of the book, so Luca Grasselli's film unfolds little by little, revealing us, with each click , a whole world, a personal melody declined on the notes of joy and melancholy, of dream and of raw reality.
A photograph made of moments caught on the fly and emotions captured with modesty and sensitivity, the result of a technique metabolized over the years and now enslaved to its own way of laying eyes on man, imperceptibly digging its soul.
So many faces, so many stories, so many encounters, which are composed in a fascinating novel, in which there are no prologue and epilogue, but a multitude of different incipits, which lead us to fantasize about the continuation of the adventure.
As in the novel If one night in the winter a traveler by Italo Calvino, the many plots left in abeyance are linked together in a single speech, in the same way all Luca Grasselli's research revolves around the intimacy of the human figure, in which every shot captures a different facet. The moving encounter of two hands, three wives talking about their children, an old lady walking hand in hand with the companion of a lifetime: moments of friendship and kindness that contrast with the moments when solitude is sovereign and devours a woman , abandoned at a coffee table.
If man is often the direct subject of the shot, at other times he lives in the traces he leaves of himself: the clothes hanging on the windows of a building, the stones of a wall slowly corroded by time or the empty chalice abandoned in a corner.
A carousel of reflections that the artist stops in some "stolen" snapshots, in which the illusory plots of reality intertwine, as in the case of a dreamy and hopeful little girl who sees her wheelchair disappear by magic.
A continuous game of randomness that is expressed through unexpected reverberations and outdated geometries and, slowly, it is captured in blurred and dreamlike images. The contours become jagged, the chromatic contrasts diminish and the bodies of two lovers hug in a universal embrace, in which what matters is not the subject, but the warmth of the feeling.
An evocative and emotional photograph, made of imperceptible moments and soft breaths of light, in which the artist gives us all her affection.
Riflessi Incondizionati - 2003
So here we are on the editorial return after the last "photographic journey" by Luca Grasselli. It is called "Unconditional reflexes - like those that escape the grip of the photographer intent on" seizing the moment ": but they consciously escape him and give him an even more refined yet natural image.
Reflections yes (and as such dependent on an "organism", "predetermined so to speak) but also unconditional, or, with another word," free. "In short, it is the eternal question of" double ", of contradiction" , of the "mirror" but I would dare to say above all of the "harmony of the opposites". This seems to me the current condition of photographic research of our author. A condition that has changed with respect to the first experiences, at the most fragmentary starting point, but in the end more unitary.
The "photographic" in which the author Grasselli runs today are more casual, that is they allow themselves to be transported more, to then flow into the riverbed of the same expressive river. The images are imprinted over the course of the journey almost involuntarily, step by step and on the way back they outline a more faithful reportage than what has been experienced. They come together again, like pieces of broken glass.
At this point I steal a sentence from one of the book's captions and dedicate it to our own: "... The more you will not be the captain and this time we will take you far away".
And let's get to the key word of this volume: mirror? Stained glass windows and showcases, interiors and gates, often recur in this logbook between Tuscany and Naples, between Bologna and Nice, between Amsterdam, Madrid and Paris.
Luca lingers (he does not stop: he is interested in travelers' reports, not the itinerary), he seizes a moment, better a 'fragment' and photographing situations and strangers, it is as if he were looking "through the windows", reconstructing the layout of an existence.
The "impressions" (in all senses) of the journey, which seem to be scattered, develop on the way back in a single direction, giving a complete sense to the journey. Men at the bells, women on the balcony, lovers on the street, friends at the restaurant, children and workers, nuns and passers-by, people waiting, people meeting, views and posters on the walls, busy and idle, hands touching, eyes that (not) intersect: everything comes together to make these "unconditional reflections" a real artistic experience and an existential dimension. Exaggeration? The same authors of the captions, a dozen among traveling companions or just good acquaintances of the author, derive (also in this case) a thousand "impressions". The photo for Luca Grasselli is a bit like a child leaving the house: once "taken" you don't know where he goes or where he can take you.
In his "Game to hide", Lucio Piccolo wrote: "If we are figures / of a mirror that a breath leads / without thickness or sound / even the world around / is not still but flowing wall / painted, deceptive game, / misunderstanding of shadows and dazzling, of forms that call and / deny a sense ".
Istantaneo - 2001
Luca Grasselli's images are visual travel notes, not like the nineteenth-century landscape views of the Grand Tour or the panoramic views that the Alinari brothers handed down to us but rather a diary of personal sensations that are inspired by human vision.
We do not even recognize the Bressonian moments in search, of the decisive moment, the photos of Luke show us instead a moment of transit between a before and after after the author invents himself and makes his own. Luca sets up a dialogue at a distance with his subjects, he does not want to invade and perhaps appropriates a little of the life of others to compensate and complete his own.
The author's gaze is almost innocent, not as a sailor photographer, but rather as a lover of photography, there are no photographs with clean and balanced shots typical of 70's photoamatorialism, made up of divisions for thirds, diagonals and golden areas, but visions instinctive of a spontaneous poetic, not screaming but whispered images, caught not with the eyes and the mind but with the eyes and the heart.
Passanti - 1993
The movement of the "PASSANTI" is like the movement of the clouds,
unrepeatable and uncertain at the same time, a dreamlike passion that accompanies the memories of the rarest moments.
It is the wind that shapes it and makes it unpredictable, it is light that animates its colors. The clouds are made of soul, the clouds are of the same substance as the images.
Images full of opportunities beyond time and space, images of nostalgia without shame, unconscious images of signs and movements that become emotions.
The desire to tell may not coincide with the same emotional correspondence. The image does not belong to the contemporaneity of his vision, it is only a gateway, an emotional replica, a static summary.
The moment dominates over expressive originality. The creative experience dominates instantaneous emotional transport. An inexplicable, overwhelming, exciting contradiction.
A slow and progressive movement that transcends rational perception to abandon oneself to sentimental relief.
A rapid and invasive movement, a shock accompanied by sudden, violent, unknown bewilderment.
An uncertain, insecure movement that finds no other orientation than the emergence of light itself in the clash between individualism and circumstance.
When the clouds stop then the sky turns gray. You can fall. It may appear real, but whatever it is it has already passed.
Le voci di Ampandratokana- 1991
Flying towards Madagascar, one has the impression of entering another dimension; the sensation becomes stronger in the first impact with reality and takes on the appearance of a dream and a nightmare at the same time. We are abruptly recalled by the solicitation of the road surface and by the screams of children at the sight of vazahas (foreigners). Everything amazes, and already in the first images of the road that leads from the airport to the capital, the contrasts between the refined and colorful advertising signs and the rest of the disordered landscape, the original arrangement of the colors, which nature wanted to express with pastel colors and dominant red green complete the picture together with the people, who everywhere seek to enhance a hard and miserable life to which every description does not seem to do justice. The rough roads are completely covered by stalls and everyone tries to sell what he has, in the difficult job of getting by. The skill of the taxi driver who turns the engine down to save fuel almost takes on the flavor of an art; even children are masters of this art and can have fun and play here as in any other part of the world, just a rope, a circle, or any object that looks like a ball, to snatch a smile and assured fun. Time also seems to have a different dimension here; and even the sun plays in the contrasts between the houses of the center and the dignified confusion of the suburban barracks. Despite the apparent quiet, even those who have not come to look for it can experience the "exotic taste" of adventure. Just grapple on the streets during a thunderstorm or explore the Analakely market; and here is that pieces of common life become an integral part of the whole Malagasy culture. In the contradictions of the city, even the past of President Ratziraka finds space, the elections are approaching and in a skilled and suggestive Kabary, the future looks better but the taxi driver does not believe it anymore. The religiousness of the street is still striking for the profound and sincere faith with which it is lived. In the evening the songs go down and press for the celebration of a young married couple, the party goes on all night and only with the arrival of the first light of dawn slowly it calms down, while the first farmers populate the rice fields and also the our train moves east, towards Tamatave.
Berlino Anovantagradi - 1990
Anovantagradi Berlin, born on the emotional wave of the collapse of the Berlin Wall in November '89, following the news four photographers left for Berlin and savored the emotion of an event that still today moves anyone who has lived through it. I was one of them!
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The Berlin Wall (in German: Berliner Mauer, in the GDR propaganda called antifaschistischer Schutzwall, "anti-fascist protection barrier") was a system of fortifications built by the East German government to prevent the free movement of people between West Berlin (de part of the Federal Republic) and the territory of East Germany.
Between West Berlin and East Berlin the border was fortified by two parallel walls of reinforced concrete, separated by a so-called "death strip" a few tens of meters wide.
The wall split the city of Berlin for 28 years, from August 13, 1961 until November 9, 1989, when the East German government decreed the opening of borders with the federal republic. Hungary had already opened its borders with Austria on August 23, 1989, thus giving the possibility of leaving the West to the Germans from the East who at that time were on vacation in other Eastern European countries.
During these years, according to official data, at least 133 people were killed by the border police of the GDR trying to cross the wall towards West Berlin.
Some scholars maintain that more than 200 people were killed while trying to reach West Berlin or captured and later murdered.
On November 9, 1989, after several weeks of public unrest, the East German government announced that visits to Germany and West Berlin would be permitted; after
this announcement a multitude of Eastern citizens climbed the wall and passed it, to reach the inhabitants of West Germany on the other side in a festive atmosphere.
The fall of the Berlin Wall opened the way for German reunification which was formally concluded on 3 October 1990.
The Berlin Wall is considered the symbol of the Iron Curtain, the European borderline between the US and Soviet zone of influence during the Cold War.
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