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Valerio Polici | Ergo Sum

Rome, Italy – July 2012. Lookout up on a hill

Graffiti was the missing piece in our puzzle to remain teen ager forever
(Ruzd Drm crew. Berlin 1999)

Becoming an adult, it is a complex and sometimes very painful process. The responsibility, the renunciations, the loss of the wonder are not always easy to accept. Terrorized from this transition some kids decide to stop for a while in a halfway stage to take their “out of cell time”, before that the tranquillity and the carelessness will vanish forever. I decided to tell this suspension through the community of the graffiti writers, that in this activity they find the perfect tool for such evasion. In the obsessive research of a momentary freedom, they tend to substitute the real world with their micro-reality, to which they feel to belong much more. For this reason, their existences got catapulted in this limbo populated by myths legends and heroic deeds, where often they remained locked for the entire life.

The graffiti sub-culture, born in the New York ghettos during the years of the Warhol’s prophecy of the “15 minutes of fame for all”, was the expression of the sense of inadequacy and depersonalization, that groups of persons felt in a society that would have never perceived them. Therefore they tried to chase that fame, writing their invisible stories on all urban surfaces, to shout their existence out into the world.

Almost half century later, this “movement” infected all the western world, taking roots on several social net. Not anymore a tool of expression just for the less fortunate social classes, but an occasion for everybody to rebuilt their own identity, although in a parallel world, free from the personal limitations.
The appeal of being outlaw, the obstacles, and the theatricality of the location where their “missions” take place, make their life appear as those of modern knight errant, in a constant request of new adventures.
In the last two years i followed several groups of graffiti writers between Europe and Argentina.
Among intrusions, climbing, infinite running and a lots of adrenaline, this is the story of their escape and to a certain extent also about mine.

Rome Italy – February 2013. Passing through an hole in the fence to reach the depot, in a subway engine-room.

Rome Italy – February 2012. Stairs to the subway depot

Rome Italy – June 2013. Down a subway tunnel

Rome Italy – August 2011. Before painting, inside a subway layup

Rome Italy – March 2013. Railway landscape

Rome Italy – October 2013. Smoking a joint in the kitchen

Rome italy – September 2013. Checking the entry of a subway engine-room up on a fence

Buenos Aires Argentina – July 2012. View of painted trains from the train wndow

Buenos Aires Argentina – July 2012. Waiting on the platform the subway

Lisbon Portugal – October 2011. Looking up the exit after a dark tunnel of a subway engine-room

Rome italy – October 2013. Using a fire extinguisher in a tunnel, to escape easier from the security guards

Q&A with Valerio Polici

Photography is…

I believe that it is first of all, an extraordinary cognitive instrument. The continuos interaction with realities often very far from you, it is always capable to give you new pieces of self awareness.
Still, every time a project ends, i fell a bit more alone. I tend to be very empathic with my surroundings, so it turns to be like changing school every year. In spite of this, that sensation of uncertainty it became somehow a necessity to me, and it needs to be feeded. Curiosity and uneasiness alway move me through other projects and other stories.

Photography and writing…

Photography and writing are just two different languages. I don’t believe that one can exclude the other. Sometimes an image speaks more than a thousands words, that’s true, sometimes the contrary. But both of them are connected from a complementarity, and together can communicate in a very sharp way. I admit to fin less easy to write: every time i have to prepare a text i need calm and concentration to translate properly what i have in my mind, differently from the spontaneity that i feel when i photograph.

Tell us a little about yourself

When i was a child, i didn’t have much space to express myself nor to make my mistakes. For this i always felt a sense of claustrophobia, staying too much time in the same context. As natural reaction i started to create a world in my mind where to escape every time i needed. In this sense photography turned out to be the perfect tool for my daily evasion.

Valerio-PoliciValerio Polici Born in Rome in 1984. 2006-2009 Marketing and advertising LUMSA university in Rome, one year exchange studies in Lisbon at I.S.C.E.M. university. 2009-2013 Photograhy at I.S.F.C.I. school in Rome, Reportage workshop at I.S.F.C.I and Exusphoto, Advanced masterclass with Enrico Bossan (head of photography department in Fabrica), Worshop with Paolo Pellegrin. 2012-2013 Assistant photographer for Giovanni Cocco. Worked with several italian newspapers. Featured on BJP, Fk, Positive, Oitzarisme, Mud.
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