“Vedutism 2.0”: my exhibition at Milan Photo Festival 2014

An old water mill hidden in the English countryside. It’s the scenario of “Flatford Mill”, by John Constable who was also the owner of the mill and in the valley had spent his childhood before he became one of the greatest landscape painters of the nineteenth century. From here takes its steps Carlo Milani exhibition: the photographer captured seasons in this rural landscape, then he shifts our attention to the urban setting of Cambridge, city rich of harmonious contrasts between ancient and modern.

The exhibition will be open June 9 to 15, in Milan at Bolzani Art Gallery, via G. Morone 2 (MM San Babila).
Opening Hours: 10.30-13 / 16-19.30.

Dedham vale
Cambridge bridge
Camdrige garden

 

Carlo Milani. The charm of reality

Before the advent of photography as we know it, many painters had decided to address the issue of landscape with a realistic approach more directly. We are in the eighteenth century and the reason of obvious influence of the Enlightenment, it was all in the need to deal with nature in a direct way, forgetting the strong symbolism that characterized its predecessors bringing them on the road to a transfiguration of places.

The “Vedutismo”, as it was called that painting movement that developed extensively, especially in Italy, was also helped by optical instruments such as the optical chamber, allowing you to project the image on a horizontal plane of reality captured by a lens. This tool allowed the painter to get tracks from which to draw sketches with unrivaled prospects. This is the reason why talented authors like Canaletto, Francesco Guardi, and Caspar von Wittel were able to paint with great skill realistic giving us glimpses of Venice and Rome quite similar to those that would have been obtained by the photographic process if only it had been already invented.

It’s curious that centuries later a young author as Carlo Milani follows the same route as opposed, this time equipped with highly sophisticated technological tools, to go in search of new visions. He, however, do not go beyond painting, but evoke it in quotes.

So, it’s not a coincidence that the choice of the exhibition title has fallen on Vedutismo 2.0, in order to emphasize an ideal continuity of purpose and a common desire to surprise the viewer, albeit in a gentle way.
The subject is no longer an italian city of enchanting beauty but a british town – Flatford in Dedham Valley, not far from Cambridge – where lived and worked John Constable, the greatest English landscape painter.

Carlo Milani moves within a game of suggestions: on one side produces balanced shots to resemble paintings, inducing its observers to believe it is really a painting. On the other side, he introduces elements such as human figures that bring images back to a more realistic vision. He looks for serene moments of everyday life, enhances the beauty of the parks in striking colors, dominated by all possible shades of green, even seems to take over the slow pace and the pleasant flow of the river.

After having highlighted all naturalistic aspects of this place, the photographer moves his and our attention guiding us through the streets, with attention focusing on the bricks that cover the facades of houses, and finally in squares where locals stroll quietly, unaware of that witness of time, who impressed their gestures and movements in a rectangle of photographic paper, on which they are intended to remain.

Because, just as in the paintings in the past, contemporary photography knows how to be a witness of his time: thanks to qualified photographic gear and sophisticated post processing techniques, the author can finally propose images of great refinement. Carlo Milani performs these operations with ease and simplicity and that’s why his images are buying our eyes a particular value. That’s the charm of reality.

Roberto Mutti

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