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Home Reviews Isles of memory by Enrica Viganò

Isles of memory by Enrica Viganò

A wide barren land where, every now and again, your eye can catch quotes of an ancient time: ruins of abandoned lives, signs of activities buried by negligence. This is the broad Po Valley, now invaded by urban settlements, factories and large landed estates that marked a positive economic development together with a progressive abandonment of centuries of history. The Po river follows its course, undaunted, but all around it the reality has so changed that those quotes of the past, now deprived of their ancient personality, get lost in the sidelong glance. And it is just through the reclaim of this personality that this Isles of memory gains an extraordinary value: in fact, it represents not only a sociological, ethnographical and geographical testimony, but it also reveals a “personality” which is still alive, even if wounded, and that has literally seduced the authors of these photos.

A seduction that Mauro Manuini and Massimiliano Boschini turned into dreamy and glowing visions. Thanks to their masterful control of light and colours – exalted through the use of cross-processing technique – they invented a parallel universe in which an ancient way of life revives and the boundaries of nostalgia are smashed, aiming directly to emotions. Surrounded by dream and memory we are catapulted in this universe which strikes our soul’s chords thanks to the language used to depict it: violent in its chromatic solutions, aggressive in its cuts, surreal in its subjects. However the result is almost soft and sweet and able to awaken that ancestral, remote and unexplainable memory which keeps us connected to the world of our ancestors, but that also leaves us an inevitable bitter taste.

The pictures taken by the collective Pommefritz in a slow 6-years long wandering around Mantua, are to documentary photography as a poem is to an essay: there is a perfect balance between art and document, but the result is a stunning masterpiece in verse.

Enrica Viganò
Milan, 3rd September 2009

More about the author:
Admira Photography