The expanding force of the photographic language of Marco Schiavone appears in the ability to make visible a duality of the image. Composed but at the same time uncertain, it brings us towards what can be described as punctum. Something stings us, doesn’t leave us indifferent, while the necessarily real contact is closed in a frame, display of the display. Never immobile but in a constant state of operation create scenes on scenes, relationships, and possibilities. Nothing is therefore removed from the real, it’s the reality that is continuously transfigured.
Lisa Andreani: Let’s start with a very simple question. I ask you to tell us about your research and your journey.
Marco Schiavone: I was born and raised in Turin, to be precise at the base of Val di Susa. I studied at the academy to follow the course of graphics where I learned the basics of semiotics and image perception.
This is where my research starts, research that for formality can be described as photographic due to the medium used, even if the dimension that belongs to me is more related to the image, to what it communicates to us and how it is perceived. Like the graphic (not advertising) my photographs tend to a clear reading, which privileges functionality to pure aesthetic beauty, to finalize the reading to a deeper stage of cognitive perception. Today I find myself looking for ideal subjects on the street in common areas or in the mountains, capturing the light at the moment that I consider appropriate, sometimes returning to the scene after some time (days, months, years), to better shape the shadows or the colors. At the same time, but with an almost scientific rigour, I also create images in the studio, composed and studied in detail, giving great importance to the practical action of the construction of the subject, the material used that would define an approach to traditional sculpture and not only with the light captured lens. Like the last work I did for “Training # 01” at Basis Frankfurt, “Moving Perspective 1 – 2, 2018”, and in 2017 for the Spaziobuonasera “Something that stands for someone instead of something else”.
LA: Quoting Sontag I would say: “A photograph changes according to the context in which it is seen… the meaning of a word is its use, Wittgenstein claimed”.
MS: Today the image loses clarity and meaning during a casual look of the spectator… In the end, this is the value of contemporary images. USE and FORGET.
LA: Images, as frozen events, replace moments with states of things, scenes and scenarios. How do you relate to the intrinsic dialectic that you create between these two spaces?
MS: The scene portrayed is, many times, misinterpreted as the reality of things, but I prefer to think that it’s one of the possible realities of the infinite scenarios that could be generated. When we portray a subject, it disappears to make way for the image of itself… and many times in contemporary society it is even more valuable. The true on the truth, the memory of the truth is more real than the truth.
The relationships created between scene and scenario are continuous and unstoppable for what is my way of understanding them. Each scene influences the complexity of the whole and generates infinite scenarios, like a horizon that moves and continuously changes the point of view.
The photographic process establishes the intention of the creator but doesn’t state anything because the images once generated live their own life and they multiply the possible scenarios.
LA: It’s important to emphasize the need to affirm new interpretative categories that consider the skills of the photographic object.
LA: Images are many-voiced connotative complex which is open to different interpretations. Which elements do you want to read in your photographs?
MS: Often the most classic question for a photographer or artist who works with photography is “what kind of photographs do you make?”. This presupposes that images must have a gender, a meaning and a link related to the social, political, economic and linguistic context. I believe that contemporary photography (at least the one that fascinates me), is free from this but regardless of gender is extremely political depending on the context in which it is used. The value of the relationship between photograph and document is no longer so obvious.
The interpretation of images is related to what we need to consume with our eyes, what we know or we still have to know. Changing the juxtaposition of two or more photographs can change the reading level of the entire scenario. What I hope to gather with my images is a sort of temporal archive of scenarios, which multiply and that can live their own lives in the imagination of every individual who decides to grasp the nuances, perspectives, colors, lands and grooves, shapes and language.
LA: It’s also about a dismantling of ugly and beautiful.
MS: And to reveal it photography must have a slow execution.
LA: Formally what you often seek to understand is an empty space. There is no one, nobody comes and everything is shining. What do you think about it?
MS: It’s true. I can tell you that it was a long process, the human figure has almost completely disappeared in my imagination, probably because man is a witness of the time in which we live, and my research does not want to be defined in a specific time. I always try to give little information on where and how the photographs were taken in order to not rationalize immediately and understand what or where it is, to maintain that aura of “splendor”, in my opinion, a bit of “darkness” is needed.
I like this, and it leads me to create an increasingly selected archive where internal “rules” are established to stratify the level of understanding and reading of my general scenario. The relationship with the absence is a search always open in my work, it is what gives balance and importance to the “presence” so it is worthy of equal importance, if not more. Just like architecture or sculpture, fullness is defined by emptiness and vice versa.