Mattia Balsamini: In Search of Appropriate Images
In Search of Appropriate Images
Hardcover, 190x265 mm, 160 pages
The exploration of oneself became an important aspect of COVID-19 related confinement. Our needs and desires became loud when taken away from us. By being forced to adjust and re-define our values and behaviour, a new space for previously unknown possibilities and perspectives opened up. This urge to turn the suspended time into something unique and creative is the focus point of Mattia Balsamini’s (b. 1987) first monograph ‘In Search of Appropriate Images’.
Balsamini started the exploration of his surroundings in Italy, his home country, around early March 2020. According to the artist, the images can be understood as a form of exercise “to train the eye, to seek some sort of meaning in the objects, atmospheres and thoughts I’ve always been attracted to.” The photographs are a mix of landscape photography, abstract forms and re-photographed books and materials from the author’s archive. Additionally, short diaristic excerpts from a small notebook are alternated with the images; fleeting and relatable thoughts capturing the mindset of the times.
As the co-author of The Aesthetics of Ambiguity, Pascal Gielen, writes in the introduction of his book, “the contemporary artist is a bricoleur, shaman, and charlatan who prepares peculiar blends and shakes indigestible cocktails.” In a similar way, Balsamini composed his book that is divided into two blocks on each side, combining visual materials and text in an arbitrary way. The viewer is free to make endless combinations with the images or watch them separately. One is led to delve into a loose narrative that can be both fixed and completely disconnected. The design, therefore, allows the viewer to make their own connections and associations – looking at the images with a new gaze.
Home is always a place that draws out the mystery of both the known and unknown. A new perspective on the home territory is something Balsamini applied himself when photographing for the project. With his ambiguous images, he gives us a taste of how it perhaps felt like looking at something so familiar that it suddenly became foreign…
‘In Search of Appropriate Images’ presents an alternative place where meanings and signifiers become floating; the alchemy of meanings of sorts. Despite socially restricting circumstances, Balsamini’s creative urge became stronger, producing pure images that mirror his inner voice. The photographs’ abstractness becomes introspective and figurative in this case, pointing towards the fundamental ambiguity of human nature – being open and subject to multiple interpretations.
Mattia Balsamini has a background in fashion and commercial photography. In 2010, he assisted David LaChapelle at his Hollywood Studio. He graduated from Brooks Institute in California, the USA and after, moved back to Italy. Besides being a photographer, Balsamini is currently teaching at MeLa’s rendering and interactive research department at IUAV University of Venice. He is also the co-founder of Collettivo Fernweh and at the moment, is represented by agency Contrasto.