Photography turns again toward painting

"The camera cannot compete with the brush and the palette so long as it cannot be used in heaven or hell"

observed Edvard Munch


These famous words of the norwegian painter Edvard Munch reveal the age-old dilemma that has kept painting and photography apart for nearly 2 centuries. At its onset, photography without a doubt caused a crisis in the world of naturalistic and representational painting, leading to radical change in the history of painting techniques and forcing artists to devise a new language of painting. This opened the doors to an historic wave of avantguardism and experimentation with regards to non-religious art production in the 20th century.

Munch however was refering to something quite different: he and the great majority of his colleagues between the 18th and 19th centuries accused photography of being a medium which placed a screen between the painted image and the image’s observer, a veil that distanced the image from any emotion. Therefore, unable to suggest that “pathos” which possessed by the brush strockes, and devoid of the passion that metaphorically transports the viewer to heaven or hell, photography remained for decades accused of not containing the soul of he who had created it by snapping the picture and so it remained a kind of banal underling to the high art of painting.

We may ask, why, would reality have had to trump the emotions? What would have happened to the sensuality evoked by the chromatic expression of Matisse’s paintings? And what of the virtuoso plasticity of painting by Vang Gogh? What would have screamed the hallucinating and dramatic character in Munch Painting? What would have happened to the revolutionary audacious use of promulgated perspective by Cezanne?

Painting succumbs to irrational, illogical laws. It belongs to a category of substantive events where the meaning is transmitted by the material, which is intentionally composed so as to be perceived by the senses. Painting is pathos, emotional tension, it’s hard work, and it’s a very personal harmony of colors and shapes. It’s an ongoing fight between the reality in the painting and the painting in reality.

The camera has to follow different codes; the discipline of Photography is ruled by changing attitudes towards inventive processes, by repetitions and rejections. Without the inventive process Photography could be only a gray everyday event. Without the duplications and the process of eliminations too many images would crowd its essential usefulness.

The stillness and infinite reproducibility of Photography has marked modern times, where the duplicates are part of the continuous mutations for the sake of change. Photography has recognized how the existence of a symbol is due to its repetition.

As previously stated, I formally consider the works of Marina Giannobi to her the meeting point between painting an photography, since it originates from human perception and than takes back to it. Her aesthetic inventions directly expand the human awareness, not only with objective representation, but also mostly by opening new ways to express the universe. Marina’s works represent an ever more refined and intuitive dialogue between the painting movement and photography movement, between emotional perceptions of the one and the rational perception of the latter.

The photography of Giannobi is photography of an immense pictorial quality, if not, where does the intense tonality, the chromatic backgrounds that reminds us of Matisse painting, and the extension of perspective that confuses and confounds the visual plane, where does that come from if not from painting‘s formulas?

In her work the actual personality of the photographer is emerging; her individuality, and stylistic quality are very identifiable. It’s not hiding behind the lens but conceding herself to the collectivity as painters do.

Closer, is when photography gets closer to painting.

From painting the artist learned that the image, like the shadow, may need more light and color than its body, and that the truth of an image comes from its interpretation, its possible extensions, and the space created by the extension of its shadow.

Marina Giannobi grasps the profound meaning, the illusion of reproductive energies that reside in all things, and remains a pure photographer without depending upon digital interventions. Her art works is not the result of the manipulation by the means of a computer. All the effects of distortion, approaching and the deferring and the estrangement of the perception that comes from her image is obtained through the skilled use of the camera.

Marina’s camera allows her to be in front and at the same time, inside the things without separation from them.

In this way the ego of photography is projected inside the works.

In this sliding between the temporal and the spatial resides all the movement of her shots. It is this that takes us to an imperfect, irrational vision and at the same time allows harmonious exchange between abstraction and representation.

Because of this, the work of Giannobi has profound roots in the Italian tradition. I’m referring to the futuristic experimentations of Anton Giulio Bragaglia, executed with the “fotodinamica” technique, a dynamic solution to represent people in movement with Photography. At that time, for the futuristic artist this experiment was of a scientific nature, however, the figures in Giannobi works are a natural aesthetic medium; as a matter of fact they appear to confuse themselves with architectural elements, and runs as fluids, without touching, without define themselves with an individual’s characteristics, representing instead the energy of the artist, that is generated from the kinetic energy of the mass in equilibrium.

The viewer sees a precise location, a specific time: a person, in that exact moment, that genetic moment, emotional and unique; that perpetual motion of sentiments that involve an individual with and other. Mostly mental landscapes, undefined interiors, spaces always defined, where human figures are of unidentifiable shapes, are shades, darks areas that don’t need to be clarified, but that catalyze all the structural environmental strength. The figures are silent presences that give depth to the images; it is their presence that emboldens the image, saving it from flatness.

Considerable is the conceptual research of Marina Giannobi that can weave, as a Penelope of today, those inivisible links that brings human closer to each other and connect them to the space they are living in. Her works is a union of soul and physical perception.