New Vedute & Rome Commission

New Vedute (2014-16) takes the traditional Italian tourist postcards found in junk shops and flea markets, all of which have been written on, stamped, and sent back to the UK, and reanimates them for a contemporary purpose. Framing one image within another, these postcards, which depict idealised views of Italy – grand historical monuments, ancient ruins, picturesque natural landscapes, and holiday destinations – are re-imagined as backdrops for vernacular photographs of Italy, which include parental holiday snapshots, personal photographs taken with a compact camera, and freely-available images found online.

The use of opaque layers recalls a previous body of work, The Last Moment, and its translucency is a filter through which our understanding of Italy is constructed and challenged. The combination of contemporary and picture postcard photographs also highlights some of the political, social, and economic challenges facing Italy today, especially in light of mass tourism, financial instability, unemployment, the refugee crisis, and immigration. This creates an inherent tension that can be disconcerting. By merging two photographs taken at different times for different purposes, the we, literally, see Italy is transformed and re-framed.

As well as being a fount of pictorial inspiration, the postcards naturally contain a literal inspiration too, all of which is used in an holistic manner; the handwritten exchanges and postage dates on the backs of these postcards inspire individual titles for the re-purposed cards.

The 2016 edition of the Rome Commission, curated by Marco Delogu, featured an updated set of the New Vedute postcards, which were exhibited alongside large-format landscape photographs and installation work. The work was first presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome (MACRO), October – December 2016.

Every year a renowned international photographer portrays the city of Rome in total freedom of interpretation. Previous artists have included Olivo Barbieri, Martin Bogren, Tim Davis, Tod Papageorge, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Anders Petersen, Hans Christian Schink, Alec Soth, Guy Tillim and Paolo Ventura.

Downloads/Links

View installation shots here

Contact sheet of photographic plates (pdf)

Essay by Italian writer and critic, Emanuele Trevi (pdf)

Essay by Italian curator, Flavio Scollo (pdf)

Exhibition catalogue published by Visionarea Art Space, Rome, 2017 (link)

Exhibition catalogue for ‘Coliseum: An Icon’ published by Electa, Rome, 2017 (link)