The Beautiful Cliché Venezia
Silvana Editoriale, Milano 2011
Venetian Heritage contributed to the publication of this photographic book that portrays an unusual Venice in black and white.
The acclaimed beauty of Venice is perhaps among the best and most distinguishing features of the city. “Postcard” shots of it are just as common: stereotypical pictures reproducing unique and incomparable landmarks that are promoted through the endless repetition of the same image. It would seem, therefore, that little or nothing remains to be discovered in the lagoon city, which is so strongly conditioned by its own legend. Renato D’Agostin’s work explores possibilities of a different sort: it unveils the best known architectural sites of Venice, such as St. Mark’s Square, by making them the object of a striking primary analysis, whereby the outlines of the architectural volumes fade away without losing their weight; space is made the object of endless interpretations, yet all reflecting the author’s vision; the details of the buildings necessarily point to the whole structures; the lagoon horizon is traced by the ideal profiles of the islands and by the dots of the mooring posts, without being conditioned by them. This is not simply a book of photographs, then, but a collection of possible “visions” of the city. The images are not made complete or defined by their contours; rather, they force the viewer to think about the places they come from – that is, they point towards a way of perceiving the entire city which does not depend on how its details are photographically rendered.
It is not easy to abstract given places from such a complex city and turn them into “photographic places”, which is to say sites capable of eliciting emotions, wonder and amazement. Perhaps one might say that the author has placed himself in a condition of “listen to places”, so as to distill some of their essential qualities. What transpires is a drive towards the future that transcends the means of photography, aspiring to discover horizons and paths that are still concealed. This approach fully brings out the liveliness of places, their powerful capacity of being perceived by millions of visitors – regardless of the extent to which they are understood – in always different and constantly renewed ways.
The volume is available in Italian, English, French and Japanese.