[I]nternational premiere, after showing an excerpt at “MIA FAIR 2015” in Milan, of the exhibition “Roberto Polillo. Visions of Venice” which opens on January the 22nd 2016 at 18.00 at the Casa dei Tre Oci on the island of Giudecca in Venice. Scheduled until March the 28th 2016 and included within the event “Tre Oci – Tre Mostre”, the exhibition is introduced with a text by Denis Curti and is curated by Alessandro Luigi Perna. To compose the show 75 images of Venice (from small to large format) taken by the photographer Roberto Polillo, part of a multi-year project dedicated to the city. On display and in the book that accompanies it, published by Skira, also a selection of citations about Venice from the works of some of the greatest Italian and international writers.
“Visions of Venice” is the first chapter of “Impressions of the World”, the decade-long project of Roberto Polillo that aims to research the “genius loci” of cities and countries around the world. An artistic and spiritual adventure that has taken him so far to Morocco, India, South East Asia, Central America, New Mexico, Miami, Iceland and Italy. The project is all made with the shooting technique defined ICM – Intentional Camera Movement, a still little known way to take pictures but with great artistic potentialities which requires to produce images with a long time-laps and to move the camera during the shooting.
The story of Roberto Polillo as a photographer begins in the early ‘60s. It is at this time that his father Arrigo Polillo, still the most important critic of jazz music in Italy, sends him to photograph the great jazz musicians on tour in our country to publish their pictures on “Musica Jazz”, the magazine of which he is director. Thrown into the fray when he was very young, Polillo learns quickly and well the job of reporter, so much to take pictures that enter in the history of show photography – today one of his exhibitions is on permanent display at the Siena Jazz Foundation. But then in the early ’70s he hangs the camera on the nail to spend his time on other things: in fact entrepreneurship and university teaching, both in computer science, become his future.
To rekindle the passion for the medium it’s digital technology applied to photography, which Roberto Polillo leads to its extreme consequences with the shooting technique ICM – Intentional Camera Movement. In fact he uses the camera like a paintbrush: very long time-laps and always different movements of resumption – vertical, horizontal, circular, oblique, slow or abrupt depending on how the subject inspires him – makes his photographs fascinating pictorial representations of reality. The completion of the images is done in post-production, a fundamental processing step because it allows to decline the images according to the stylistic signature of each author.
To inspire him culturally and aesthetically are the painter-travelers (especially Orientalists) of the XIX century and artists such as Delacroix, Matisse, Renoir, Van Gogh, Turner, De Chirico. But for how many references there are in his images to the modern and contemporary painting, Roberto Polillo creates for himself and his audience a fascinating artistic and esthetic universe completely original and independent.
The photographer poses himself in front of Venice as travelers of the past, trying to cut himself from modern times in which we live. He imagines to relive the wonder of those who first came to this city with visionary and phantasmagoric architectures, with buildings, overlooking on the water, which seem to have liquid rather than solid foundations, with canals instead of streets and boats instead of cars to move, and with narrow streets that seem to hide a mysterious and magical secret behind every corner.
The Venice of Polillo, explored in different times of the day and in different seasons of the year, is full of changing colors and moods. How it was able to express the whole of human feelings through its lights, its shadows, its color shades. Sometimes it is a bright, cheerful, optimistic city. Other times it’s rather gloomy, mysterious, gothic and adventurous. Others more it’s intimate, melancholy, desolate, almost desperate.
Roberto Polillo, never settled, with his deep gaze, goes hunting the many souls of Venice and shows them in the form of powerful pictorial suggestions that lay bare a city that seems lost, indeed suspended, forever in time.