Paola De Pietri realizes her work starting from a careful and meticulous recording and observation of places, whether they are urban and anthropized or composed of organic and vegetal elements from the natural environment. Senza Titolo (Untitled, 2007) takes us into an almost postcard-like representation: a lake surrounded by mountains, a jetty, a warm and soft light, and a haze that suggest a summer period, despite its neutrality.

Everything appears ordinary, there are not typical elements of a specific place that let recognize it, unless one already knows it, but rather an idea of topos, an anonymity that is not trivial but becomes peculiar and distinctive. The place is not only indefinable in terms geolocation, also the scene itself, a figure lying on the jetty, is suspended in a time – a season or era – that cannot be precisely placed.

This visual process, of suspension or temporal translation, is the center of Paola De Pietri’s work, which combines the rigorous observing approach, and the following recording of places and landscapes, with a more than narrative construction of branching images and elements that compose them. De Pietri’s artworks often develop in a series, thus photographs construct architectures that are almost theaters of memory, just like a free associations’ game.

Meditation, rest, contemplation… The shoes placed beside suggest a prior or imminent action. Will this faceless protagonist dive? Who is the person photographing him? Or is there a self-prepared set behind, not captured in the frame? No matters if the background is what we see or what we want to see, the important is where this image manages to take us: the sensations it stimulates and let us experience, and how we encounter and connect with them; just as the figure lying down feels the warmth of the wood on the skin, the breeze, and the ripples the water’s surface, we also can perceive them.


Paola De Pietri
Senza Titolo, 2007
Ink-jet print on fine art paper, 108 x 135,5 cm
© Paola De Pietri e Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea – Museo di Fotografia Contemporanea, Milano-Cinisello Balsamo
The artwork is part of the group exhibition “L’Italia è un desiderio. Fotografie, paesaggi e visioni 1842 – 2022. Le Collezioni Alinari e Mufoco”.
Scuderie del Quirinale, via XXIV Maggio 16, Roma
From July 1st to September 3rd
Curated by Matteo Balduzzi (Mufoco) and Rita Scartoni (Fondazione Alinari)