From February 25 to April 23, 2011, The Gallery Apart will host the exhibition “Ciao“, the new solo show by Mariana Ferratto. This is the artist’s latest project, elaborated, developed and produced in Paris during a period of residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts, where she was hosted for eight months in the atelier provided by Incontri internazionali d’arte, the association founded and directed with great passion by Graziella Lonardi Buontempo.
The project consists of two parts: a video and some series of photographs taken on the scene during the shoot. The video depicts a scene that is repeated millions of times in train stations all over the world: a woman steps off a train and walks towards a man who is waiting for her. They walk toward one another, both smiling and hurrying to shorten the time until they finally embrace happily. A series of frames, detailing the hands, the arms that embrace the other’s body and the faces full of emotions, reveals a brief moment when the expressions begin to change and the movements convey growing uneasiness, until the joy and happiness are transformed into seriousness and sadness. The man and the woman then begin to separate, each turning back to the direction from which they came. The woman re-enters the train: then, she gets back off and soon the scene starts over again.
Mariana Ferratto carefully selected the station in which the video is shot: the Austerlitz station, whose architecture lends itself particularly well to creating a timeless atmosphere which the artist highlights with the use of black and white video. The work, in fact, does not tell a story, rather it describes the emotional condition of those who, taken from their origins, conduct a life of exile, those who are forced to face continuous and immediate detachment, physically or even just spiritually, each time they manage to reconnect with loved ones, with family, with their abandoned homeland for just an instant.
The autobiographical element of the work is very strong, as is common in Ferratto’s artistic work. Ferratto was born in Italy to Argentinean parents. She herself, with much of her family remaining in Argentina, has experienced many times the passage from happiness to sadness, the bitter sensation that comes from knowing the short duration of a long-awaited reunion.
The photographic work comes from a selection of many pictures taken during the video shoot. The attention in this case is focused on the details of the station, on the urban landscape which is seen from afar, on the humanity which casually moves into the scene.
Mariana Ferratto articulates the issue on three different levels. A first series of large photographs, only partly on display, marks with clarity the chosen location, which retains the importance of its potential, reminiscent of the use of synecdoche, for which the viewer experiences the grandeur of the station through selected spectacular details. A second work consists of a series of small triptychs in which images, made up of selected out of focus scenes from the photos, take on an almost abstract painting quality and size so as to emphasize the atmosphere of the station as a “non-place” ready to accept any form of emotional experience. A final set of pictures has been treated by superimposing some color photographs of identical images in black and white, cut by the artist in order to leave the structures of the station colorless, in the foreground, and instead forcefully bringing to our attention the color from the underlying image of the background and surroundings.
The exclusion of the actors and the partial and/or total introduction of color, highlight the complementary and autonomous character of the photographs with respect to the video. Indeed, with the photographs Mariana Ferratto intends to highlight the true and objective side of an experience which repeats itself innumerous times in millions of places throughout the world. It is through the here and the now of the experience portrayed in the video that makes the setting tangible and alive imbuing it with the colors of life, with their sharpness or lack of focus – just as our memories are.