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iBrassaï, Les murs de Paris/Graffiti.
From the exhibition Pour l'amour de Paris, at Palazzo Morando, Milan, until 28thJune 2015.

From the walls of Paris to those of Belfast

«Le mur a toujours exercé sur moi una sorte de fascination. J'ai souvent préféré cette autre nature artificielle et urbaine, imprégnée d'humanité. infiniment riche en suggestion – signalées déjà par Léonard da Vinci – et ce langage éphémère qui y prend mystérieusement naissance». (1)
Gyula Halász, better known as Brassaï, wrote these words in 1958 in the catalogue of an exhibition at the ICA in London. His words express with crystal clarity an extreme interest in the landscape built by men. He implicitly suggests that, given for granted that the urban tissue can constitute the maximum expression of the anthropomorphic landscape, we do not need to limit ourselves to macrostructures. It is also necessary to investigate the expressions that are less eye-catching, such as the languages that are created and developed on walls. These are in fact signs that cannot be underestimated.
On this topic, the case studied by Belinda Loftus at the end of the 80s is very interesting and quite extreme. (2) Loftus analysed the role of images in the conflict in Northern Ireland between 1968 and 1988. In the opposite factions, she not only found differences in the context of the political-religious orientation, but also she hypothesised the existence of different looks on the world characterised by peculiar ways of expression.
In this sense, the references to Barnstein and to the concepts of restricted linguistic code and elaborated linguistic code are crucial. The first is used in relationships that are based on a shared identity. It considers a simplification of the language that is expressed with extreme concreteness and by using non-verbal signals. Its application tends to reinforce the sense of belonging to the identity of the group that uses it, which will consequently compress the space of the individual differences.
On the contrary, the elaborated linguistic code is used with interlocutors whose attitude to listen cannot be taken for granted. Therefore, it aims to transmit explicit messages, elaborating the uniqueness of the individual experience.
Going back to Loftus' thesis, she would have identified some sort of parallel between the restricted code (associated to the loyalists, whose visual language would result concise, impersonal, without any representations or individual experiences and clearly aimed to reinforce the existing social and political links) and the elaborated one (associated with the nationalists, who would instead use symbols that strongly consider individuality).

Practically, the analysis on the images depicted on the murals sees the loyalists focused in a communication full of emblems, flags and political symbols, aimed to confirm the ideas of who was already part of the group. On the contrary, nationalists tried to express themselves outside of their circle, mixing icons of the socialist ideology with the ones of Catholic Irish mythology.
The study of the territory and its shapes is something that develops in extremely complex ways, which are intensified by the very important anthropologic component. In fact, the observation of the landscape on a visual level goes through the two dimension data (images, signs, representations), but also through the three dimension data (surroundings, objects, traces). Alongside them, it is however important the identification of two other groups of visual data: the lived ones (places and spaces where daily life happens) and finally the living ones (social interactions, identities, body). (3)
For those who are willing to see and have the ability to listen to the silences of the images, we recommend having a look at Brassaï's brilliant research on graffiti developed between the end of the 20s and the beginning of the 50s.

[ Sandro Iovine ]

Pour l'amour de Paris by Brassaï, in exhibition in Milan until the 28th of June. INFO.

(1) - «Walls have always had some sort of fascination for me. I often preferred this other urban and artificial nature, full of humanity, infinitely rich of suggestions – as already stressed by Leonardo da Vinci – and the language that mysteriously comes alive in it». Quoted from Brassaï, pour l'amor de Paris, Flammarion, Paris, 2013; p. 69.
(2) - cfr. Belinda Loftus, Northern Ireland 1968-1988: Enter an Art Historian in search of a useful Theory, in Picturing Power: Visual Depiction and Social Relations Sociological Review Monographs, No. 35, Routledge, London, 1988.
(3) - cfr. Michael Emmison e Philip Smith, Researching the Visual: Images, Objects, Contexts and Interactions in Social and Cultural Inquiry, Sage Publications, London, 2000.

iBrassaï, Les murs de Paris/Graffiti.
From the exhibition Pour l'amour de Paris, at Palazzo Morando, Milan, until 28thJune 2015.

About this issue

As anticipated, FPmag completes the chapter [re]tracing topography with this issue (003).
We open here with Palazzi di Parole (Palaces of Words) by Nicolò Quirico, a sophisticated project that focuses on printing urban landscape images on collage vintage book pages. A sort of metaphor of how the expression of the anthropized landscape, is the child of the culture it expresses. Through walls, words and visual stratifications, we enter then in the extremely personal San Paolo by Marco Mario Zanin, who uses the image to merge with the city and to grasp that elusive sense that allows to truly live the territory without being passively subjected to it.
The wandering to find and find again, logically brings us from Brazil back to Fulvio Bortolozzo's Milan. Photography becomes a performance where the camera inserts itself between the author and the random and unexpected visual wanders that one can find while commuting to work. From the walks where the vision interrupts the daily routine, we go in search of a pure dimension, the Metaphysical Italy by George Tatge. The link between the two authors is the opposite attitude they have. The first (Fulvio Bortolozzo) leaves photography to enter his wanderings as a bursting action while other activities are going on. Instead, the second (Tatge) needs a space dedicated to the iconic reflection, which often transforms into a surreal metaphor of the human intervention on the territory. And talking about surrealism, we get to Sudari (Shrouds) by Luigi Grassi, who takes pictures not to please the eye, but to show how words, as expression of a thought-out reflection, could be very powerful in constructing the meaning of a work. The memory of the Western religious suffering is passed over in a very subtle way and delivers us a different memory.
We then explore the memory of images linked to sound and cinema. Adriano Zanni retraced at first with a sound research and then a visual one, the places of Deserto Rosso (Red Desert), famous movie by Michelangelo Antonioni. We publish here a short extract of his research on sound that can be used in a synesthetic way to reproduce the suggestions of the film while watching it. We recommend downloading the whole musical work and watching again Deserto Rosso or enjoy it for the first time if you haven't already done so.
The introduction to the idea of a relationship between time and space on Zanni's work brings us to Sugimoto, that explored this idea for a long time and who proposes, with the images of the diorama, a possible sophisticated reading of the anthropized landscape.
Still on the subject of time, we arrive at the revolution of Palermo, where the most anthropized landscape undergoes a temporary transformation and becomes almost unrecognizable due to the conflict.
If in the previous issue we proposed the landscape of Mars as the example of anthropization before the arrival of man, on this issue we try to go beyond that and venture out in the world of video games, where the virtual construction of the landscape is part of the playful dynamic. From an immaterial landscape we arrive to the impalpable concept of limit. The border between Italy and France is an example. The almost invisible lines that divide one nation from the other have administrative purposes but they are not always visible to the eye. Giving visibility to the limits is Luca Prestia and Marco Monari's aim. The latter in particular walked through the border of the borough where he lives (San Bartolomeo in Galdo, in Benevento's province) with a GPS.
And from the borders to geographical maps, there is almost continuity. Laura Marcolini enters the archives of the Italian Touring Club and guides us in the world of two wheel excursions of the cofounder of the ITC.
If the geographical map is some sort of proved portrait of the landscape, what is the portrait that the camera can offer nowadays? The answer is in Dario Coletti's experience. He organised in Cagliari a very interesting workshop on the observation of the territory of which FPmag publishes here the results.
From a costal city such as the Sardinian main town to the historical images of Pio Tarantini telling us about Cerano’s illicit houses built in the 70s with recyclable materials, before the construction of the power station. The colourful summer shacks do not exist here anymore and this is what links Cerano to Cagliari, where the colourful small homes in Poetto have long since gone. FPmag concludes with Nicolò Quirico, who explains in first person the origin of the image we chose for the cover.
In conclusion, there is just one thing left to note. At the beginning of each article, you will find quotations of authors that fitting for the chosen images. Nothing is given to chance. Whoever will want to extend these concepts and to follow the suggestions in the bibliography will discover opposite opinions. In fact, we see this as an occasion to open the debate that everyone should already have alive inside, as a chance to have information and parameters in order to find an own opinion on the matter.
And now the only thing left is to wish you happy reading!

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