Carlo Gavazzeni Ricordi. Imaginary Theatres
The exhibition Carlo Gavazzeni Ricordi. Imaginary Theatres in Rome organized by the State Hermitage together with the publisher Il Cigno GG Edizioni examines the works of the modern Italian artist-photographer. Carlo Gavazzeni Ricordi was born in Milan in 1965 in a family of musicians, studied law but then decided to become a photographer. He currently lives and works in Milan. In 2007 he received an award from Rome city council.
Gavazzeni is fascinated by taking photographs of town and cityscapes. His art is in the tradition of the Old Italian masters and reminds one of the paintings of Gaspare Vanvitelli and Francesco Guardi and the engravings of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. At the same time Gavazzeni has a deeply original vision. He creates his panoramas using new photographic techniques and combining different view points. He actively contrasts light and dark colour which gives his photographs the appearance of a painting. Gavazzeni’s view of architectural monuments is the view of a romantic who has discovered hidden subjects and interprets them in an original manner.
Almost 30 works were chosen for the exhibition. Most of the photographs in the exhibition were taken inside the Villa Torlonia Theatre in Rome. The building was designed by Quintiliano Raimondi in the mid 19th century in the classical style. It was abandoned for many years and has only recently been restored. Photographs taken before the Theatre’s restoration show the total neglect of the work of architecture. The viewer sees crumbling walls, damaged columns and broken statues. There are strips of paper, old posters and newspapers and all kinds of rubbish. The walls are stained with writing and graffiti. At the same time, the world presented by Gavazzeni Ricordi is not off-putting but rather attractive, a kind of romantic vision on the border between reality and dreams. These photographs are most of all associated with Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s etchings. The author stresses this resemblance by uniting images of the Villa Torlonia Theatre under the title Imaginary Theatres, which reminds one of Piranesiís Imaginary Prisons etchings.
Several photographs displayed at the exhibition show a view of the Villa Medici, the site of the French Academy in Rome. A particularly expressive photograph shows the Flying Mercury statue (a copy of Giambologna’s original) reaching for the sky against the background of the building and garden.
Carlo Gavazzeni Ricordiís works enable us to see Rome in a new way, the eternal city loved by tourists and admirers of antiquity.
The exhibition is curated by Sergei Androsov, head of the Western European Fine Art Department of the State Hermitage, Professor of Art History.