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Massimo Vitali at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery
David Franchi – 14th January 2012
“pays attention at the elements of the nature”
With a solo exhibition, Massimo Vitali comes back to the UK, at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery, Mayfair, London. Vitali last exhibition in the UK is dated 1997.
Massimo Vitali has become one of the most renowned contemporary photographers worldwide. He is celebrated for his large colour prints depicting the crowded beaches and shorelines of the Mediterranean Sea.
The new series at the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery pays attention at the elements of the nature such as shores, beaches, rocks, cliffs, waterfalls, caves and quarries, but also contains socio-political aspects.
People pictured are always on mass, in crowded places. Nevertheless, they seem to have no personality reduced to simple colour spots. More often persons are similar to coloured points framed in monumental natural landmarks. Human bodies resemble animals undistinguished from those usually seen on the beaches. The environment is a protagonist with the power of the nature jumping out of the images. Our frailty in the face of such power is thrown into focus and we are forced to confront our mortality and our inability to resist the forces of nature.
Massimo Vitali expresses contemporary society as any good artist should. His images are critical expressions of the mass culture worshipping money and holidays but spending those in another mass-crowded-environment not at all different from their everyday life – therefore having no advantages from it. People are reduced to colour spots without a personality, such as it is imposed by modern society, that considers people as numbers instead of human beings. Natural environment relates to the environmentalist issues, the greenhouse effect, the impoverishment of resource, and modern ecologist problems our society is facing nowadays.
In the Vitali’s body of work there are also socio-political aspects. He commenced his series of Italian beach panoramas in 1994, coinciding with a period of dramatic political change in Italy. “It had happened on 2nd August 1994, right after Berlusconi was elected. I found myself in a state of shock. How could have it happened? I then was on holiday on the beach of Marina Pietrasanta in Tuscany. All of sudden I made the decision to have a closer look at my compatriots, and I spent many a day observing people” Vitali said.
Since then he had major solo exhibitions around the world and his prints are included in various major international collections. Over the last 15 years, the subtle shift in Vitali’s work from crowds to sparsely populated landscapes seems an attempt to understand how we can avoid colonising that which makes our environment meaningful and balanced, and an almost Romantic vision of the sublime power of nature.
Massimo Vitali is born in Como, Italy, in 1944. He studied photography at the London School of Printing. He first worked as a photojournalist in the 1970s and then worked later in the 1980s as a movie camera operator. His more recent work is fine art photography.
For many of his works, Vitali stands on a podium four or five meters high, and uses large-format film cameras to capture high-resolution details over a broad expanse in locations such as beaches.
Showing from 18th November 2011 until 28th January 2012
At the Brancolini Grimaldi gallery, 43-44 Albemarle Street, London, W1S 4JJ