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iBlue Pigment Bottle, left, Flowers in Vase, right, from the series Morandi's Objects. © Joel Meyerowitz.

joel meyerowitz

Morandi's Objects*

«These paintings are just as much examples of the unique and ingenious way that Morandi had to look at things around him. And for me likewise they represent the proof of how objects, the environment, scenes have their own life»**

Ferzan Özpetek

Immerse yourself in the fascination of the invisible. «I wonder – asks Joel Meyerowitz – how is it that these quotidian objects contained so much power that they kept Morandi in thrall to them throughout his life?». Solids, just enough to gather the light. Concrete, just enough to be taken and put in front of a lens. Icy, just enough to be an excuse. Hot, just enough to be ethereal. The meeting with the Morandi objects is much more than it may appear. It is an entry into his universe, an open crack on his perceiving the world that the photographic images attempt to share. The objects are no longer such, they are place cards in space, necessary to carry forward the instance of the refined world's analysis. Perhaps difficult to participate, but certainly perceived by the unconscious.

«I sat at Giorgio Morandi's table in exactly the same place that he sat for more than 40 years. On his table the same slant of light glowed for me as had for him». It is the light the guide of who speaks with photography. It is she, which models the objects, by making them transparent. Which broke through the cortex that prevents perceiving the landscapes of the mind of others. It is the light that overcomes the barriers of time and death. Awakens the echoes of lost words that tell how «nothing can be more abstract, more unreal than that which we actually see». (1)

It is an attempt of portrayal in absentia already venturous (2), but with other intentions and another spirit. Or maybe, in an aesthetic perspective, it would be more appropriate to say that it is an attempt to observe the invisible in its irrepressible fascination. Objects that dance statically before the camera go back to being what they were in the hands of the painter: simulacra, an expedient to make visible to the eye what was obvious to the mind of Morandi. They place us inevitably in front of the mystery of which they are bearers and have taken on the burden. The moment, in which they appear in an image, whether it is on the canvas of the past or the present in a photograph, the objects seem to deny their very physicality to sublimate into «a creation, an invention of the artist, if he is able to drop those diaphragms that is conventional images, which stand between him and things». (3)

Therefore, the power of imagination to raise the sails towards the shores of an understanding that is housed at levels that at most seems to be denied. We are faced with a rare ability, that of accepting to be immersed in the mystery which surrounds us. That of which, too often not even we realise. It is almost like being participants in a magical rite. Imagination is an extraordinary power, but does not find its strength only in itself. As Debray would say, the extracts from that infinite in which, man precipitates whom within finds the courage to lose himself. (4)

And this is the invitation, which seem to extend the images of Morandi’s Objects.

[ Sandro Iovine ]

(*) - The selection of ten images of the project Morandi's Objects by Joel Meyerowitz, exhibited at Spazio Damiani (via dello Scalo 3/2 abc, Bologna, Italy) from 23rd October 2015 to 29ᵗʰ February 2016, has been presented, on March 3rd 2016, also at the Leica Store Bologna (strada Maggiore 8/b, Bologna, Italy). Damiani Publisher, Bologna, has published the volume Morandi's Objects.
(**) - Ferzan Özpetek, Appunti su Giorgio Morandi (Notes on Giorgio Morandi), in Morandi 1890-1964, curated by Maria Cristina Bandera, Skira, Milan, 2015; p. 72.
(1) - Morandi to Edouard Roditi, in Morandi 1890-1964, curated by Maria Cristina Bandera and Renato Miracco, Skira, Milan, 2009; p. 354.
(2) - «So I liked to film precision a bit hyper-realistic but with a certain margin of deviation, without killing, without permanently eliminating the possibility of returning a picture at a distance which was Morandi’s paintingi». (free translation) Luigi Ghirri, Lezioni di fotografia, curated by Giulio Bizzarri and Paolo Barbaro, Quodlibet, Macerata, 2010; p. 48.
(3) - Morandi to Peppino Mangravite, op. cit., Skira, Milan, 2009; p. 350.
(4) - Regis Debray, Vita e morte dell'immagine (Life and death of the image), Publisher Il Castoro, Milan, 1999; p. 32.

iBlack Glass Vase Master Flat, left, White Bottles, right, from the series Morandi's Objects. © Joel Meyerowitz.

iSplit Head, left, Pitcher Wood, right, from the series Morandi's Objects. © Joel Meyerowitz.

iTall Metal Sliding, left, Pink Glass Decanter, right, from the series Morandi's Objects. © Joel Meyerowitz.

iRust Color Bottle, left, Shell Spiral, right, from the series Morandi's Objects. © Joel Meyerowitz.

Joel Meyerowitz - Born in New York in 1938, he began photographing exclusively in colour, in 1962, becoming part of the iconographic tradition dictated by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank. Due to the use of colour in a period when photography was expressed almost exclusively in black and white, its role in the evolution of contemporary photography was crucial. Meyerowitz has contributed to the generalised acceptance of the language expressed and expressible through the use of colour. In 2001 he was the only one who was given permission to photograph Ground Zero following the attacks of 11th September and his work has been published in the book Aftermath: World Trade Center Archive. His works are present in important public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Art in Boston and The Art Institute of Chicago.

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