Marco Lanza’s new work was born from the purchase of some batches of photographs which took place in 2018. Attending the deposits of museums and archives must have had some influence in the decision to take possession of a collection of objects. An impulsive purchase made not on a stall, but via the internet, in a poke, without having been able to see or touch the photos, but relying on fate. And the first purchase followed by others. The result: more than ten thousand photographs of different formats and eras were found in his hands, collected by who knows who and who knows where, which chance wanted to be sold together.
The awareness of being in front of a spurious set of objects, which had nothing to do with any form of archive intended as a set of documents relating to one or more people and their activity, Lanza had it only after having looked at all those photographs. A patient work of observation made up of annotations and researches to find a possible link between the images, go back to the authors, place them in time and space.
Hundreds of portraits from the early 1900s to the 70s, mostly made by anonymous professionals in their studios and by equally anonymous photographers during the holidays. Photos postcards sent to distant loved ones, images from the colonies and some sporting event, but no connection between the photographs, except the probable Italian origin of the whole, perhaps originating from hundreds of dismembered family albums. This certainty has opened up infinite possibilities for Lanza to interact with the mountain of shots in his possession. An unexpected opportunity, a freedom of action (…) Lanza who has devised his own method, a rigorous system, which does not allow for exceptions. He used an opal plexiglass sheet with a square hole in the center to reframe the photographs. He worked as if he were using a fixed lens, without being able to approach or move away from the subject, focusing on what was interesting to his eye. Following the lines given by the new selection, Lanza cut the photographs, thus obtaining new works, literally extracted from the original ones.
An irreversible reduction, a cropping, a re-reading of the image that leads to a recreation. The result is an extract, be it the selected part, or the part that remains, an apparent waste that instead becomes a new work. An original action in the panorama of artistic reinterpretations of photographic archives: cutting is a clear-cut, definitive operation, it does not allow for second thoughts, it acts directly on the material, modifying it forever.
Chiara Dall’Olio (Extracts)
Associate Curator, Fondazione Modena Arti Visive
11.10.22 – 11.13.2022
Sit Down gallery
09.23.22 – 10.29.2022
Marco Lanza was born in Florence in 1957. A self-taught photographer, he studied Fine Arts and Music at the University of Bologna.
In the 1980s, he began to travel around the world and realized his first photographic commissions for various agencies and international magazines.
At the same time, he developed an artistic work presented in exhibitions in Italy and abroad. The Sunday Times, Colors, Die Zeit, Harper’s Bazar, Creative Review published his work.
In 2000, he published The Living Dead– Inside the Palermo Crypt with Westzone Publishing, a photographic work on the crypt of the Capuchins in Palermo.
In 2005 he founded the video art project Pastis with his brother Saverio, who is a musician.
His artistic work reflects his familiarity with the scientific approach and his untiring curiosity to examine art and reality, which mark the expressiveness of many of his projects, resulting in a passionate research and a radical dynamism of vision.
Claire Guillot, “À Paris Photo, les images anonymes sortent de l’ombre”, Le Monde, 10 novembre 2022