Pio Tarantini: Terrestrial Clues

11 June - 12 October 2024
I have tried to bridge the gap between the abstraction of the chosen concepts and the necessary concreteness of the images with visual layers in which matter becomes blurred, evanescent, and where more easily recognisable objects are mixed with bodies and environments that allude to the chosen themes. Pio Tarantini

With the 9 works that make up the series Indizi terrestri (Terrestrial Clues), Pio Tarantini addresses in a symbolic way so many fundamental concepts for human life - Knowledge, Eros, Pathos, Expectation, Happiness, Time, Spiritual, Dream, Earthly - and he partly quotes the title of a literary work by the Russian poet Marina Cvetaeva (Terrestrial Clues. Moscow Diary, 1917-1919), because the works consist of visual fragments resulting from photographic layering.


One of the most appreciated authors of contemporary Italian photography, Pio Tarantini has long been engaged in photographic research on existential themes, which has materialised in several works such as Il Passato e i pensieri (The Past and Thoughts, 1985-1989), dedicated to time and memory, L'ombra del vero (The Shadow of Truth, 1995-2003), Scenari (Scenarios, 2006) and Imago (2008-2021) - a small selection of which was presented in 2022 at Lab 1930. Fotografia contemporanea with the exhibition Il tempo ritrovato (Time Rediscovered) - in which the research focused on the visual perception of man's precarious presence in the world.

In the course of his research, the stylistic tools used to make these themes tangible photographically were essentially two: the use of multiple superimposed images - especially in the works dedicated to time and memory - and the use of photographic blurring as an expressive tool for the concept of existential precariousness, in the dual version of blurred human figures placed in highly connoted environments or against neutral backgrounds, in which the gaze is focused only on the figure itself.

In Indizi terrestri (Terrestrial Clues), the author prefers the tool of layering, selecting from a very large production photographic shots whose superimposition synthesises the nine concepts mentioned above.

It is a choice of synthesis that seeks to distil his reflection on some fundamental aspects of our presence in the world. A kind of phenomenology of existence, visually reduced to the present impracticability of given certainties, where the answers can only be changeable, complex, stratified - in fact, far from the most determined visions of a positivist or ideological flavour.