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Fluctuations - Work notes

I think it is useful to report these notes of mine, dating back to 1998, to contribute more information to the understanding of the Fluctuations cycle.


Extract from Paolo Aldi's work notes for the realization of “Fluctuations”



 I claim for photography the value of a medium that allows me to express my personal interpretation of the world, an artistic interpretation not necessarily linked to real events, but instead to my intuition, perception, sensitivity and imagination.



 Surrealist photography plays with the particular relationship with reality that every photograph has. Photography is an imprint, a decalcomania of reality, a trace - obtained by a photochemical process - linked to concrete objects to which it refers according to a causal relationship similar to that which exists for the imprint of a finger, the trace of a step. Photography is genetically different from painting, sculpture and drawing; in the genealogical tree of representations, it is placed on the side of handprints, death masks, the Shroud, or the traces of seagulls on the beach. Technically and semiologically, drawings and paintings are icons, while photographs are indexes.

C.S. Peirce's taxonomy of signs distinguishes three basic types of signs. First, there are signs that function at a purely conventional level of arbitrary relationship between signifier and referent: words are a good example, and Peirce calls them symbols. Then there are signs that represent the referent by proxy via a similarity or a visual resemblance, even a cursory one: one can take the example of paintings, but also of plans and maps. This type of sign has received the name icons. Finally, the third and last type: the index - the trace, the fingerprint, the medical symptom - where the referent is evoked by the intervention of a trace or an imprint. A subgroup of indexes are prints, the traces that something imprints in space. Not only footprints belong to this category, but also photographs, which are the imprint of an event obtained through a photochemical process - since the relationship of the event to the photograph is a physical cause. It is because of this cause-and-effect relationship that photographic images are considered documents with evidentiary value, a property that is one of the traits of other members of the same category (such as fingerprints or footprints) in that they are the reified, externalized trace of their referents.


Dadaists, Surrealists and Constructivists discovered that photography was not only a precise eye consisting of a lens and diaphragm, but also a darkroom and a light sensitive materials.


Art has long left, one hundred years ago, the reassuring soil of the recognizable.


Fluctuations: title of the installation


Aldo Gabrielli - Mondadori:

Fluctuation: swaying, alternate movement, uncertainty, oscillation

Fluctuating:  swaying, floating, agitated  

                           Figuratively: doubtful, uncertain        

Fluctuate:     surge, sway, swing, seesaw, roll, shake

                           Figuratively: be uncertain, doubtful



Photographing a nude means defending it from the idea that it is simply a naked body. It is necessary to go beyond the mere physical aspect to insert the subject into a poetic discourse, to create a “metaphor” and therefore a flow between represented and unrepresented.


The corporeality of the subject is turned upside down in the realm of the surreal.

I challenge the viewers’ expectations, I provoke a sort of “mental gymnastics” so that they shift their visual attention from the represented body to visions of human existence.


Photography presents, as the fundamental “figure” of its communication, a “mental form”, a "concept", rather than an image.


The work does not want to reproduce reality in its phenomenal appearance. It goes beyond the real vision, it tries to penetrate deeper into the being, looking for a more mental vision.


In my photos there is a world that is neither specified nor defined; it belongs in its countless variations to the viewer.


I represent life that is a chaos of simultaneous events, happenings and spiritual rhythms.


I represent life that is a situation of one uncertainty after another.


Having set up the work, chosen the model, and explained the project to work on, I arrive at the photo shooting session. In the session I try to express the inner “I” in full freedom as it really is without the intervention of reason.


Manipulate the images giving ample space to chance and therefore to the unexpected, the unconscious and nonsense.

Use black and white infrared film Film born for war and scientific purposes, it has the ability to record, in addition to the normal range of colors visible to us, also part of the infrared band of radiation (which we humans are not able to grasp). Despite considerable experience in its use the results of filming are only imaginable and not fully capable of being visualized in advance.

Its creative use allows the creation of atmospheres as much magical and muffled as dramatic and distressing, more or less surreal according to its use. It has as a constructive and formal characteristic a beautiful and obvious “grain”.

“Incorrect” images. The secret of “incorrect” images — seen from above, from below, in foreshortening — lies in the fact that the photographic apparatus reproduces the pure optical image, thus showing the distinctions, deformations, foreshortenings, etc., which are optically real, while our mind integrates the optical image with our intellectual experience, through formal and spatial associative links, into a conceptual image.


ORBITAL: the region of space, around the nucleus, where there is at least 90% probability to find the electron and where the electron spends more than 90% of its time.

SPIN: the quantum number of spin indicates the direction of rotation (clockwise or counterclockwise) with which the electron rotates around its axis; it can take only the values - and +.


The limb or the whole body are not seen completely, but are indicated by an area in which we intuit their existence and then our eye integrates its perception with our intellectual experience, through associative formal and spatial links, in a conceptual image.


Carry out research on the printing phase of the photo in order to overcome the limits imposed by the commercial production of the materials that constitute the support of the image and the image itself as a mixture of chemicals reacting to light.


Overcome, thereby, the limits that would otherwise lead to a partial standardization of the research, of the artistic work that often ends up being reduced just to the moment of introspection of the language of the shot.


The photographic print of an image is the place of interpretation and reflection on the intuition from which the shot was taken.


Expand the boundaries by rediscovering older printing techniques, materials made with more silver, better support paper to allow me a more direct relationship with the work.

For this exhibit I am using traditional silver print techniques with fine materials.


The exhibit is divided into two situations:


1) the “more sensitive” one suspended from balloons (photos 30x40 cm in black mattes 60x80 cm).

2) the “stronger” one hanging on the walls or lying on the ground (photos 70x100 cm mounted on aluminum support)

Differences also highlighted through the use of different photographic papers.

1) for the “more sensitive” part, 15/20 prints on precious paper with silver chlorobromide emulsion laid on 300 gram cardboard.

French paper BERGGER produced as in the past, capable of warm tones (brown) and great ability to reproduce small nuances and be very workable in the darkroom.

These images are suspended from black balloons and are anchored to the ground with river stones.

The tethers are thin silk threads and the exhibition itself, therefore, fluctuates.


It fosters deep, engaging emotions.


2) 5 prints on paper of modern conception with silver bromide emulsion, cool tones. Paper KODAK POLYMAX.

Modern paper with limited tones compared to BERGGER that still allows me to control the tonal separation necessary for these images; it has very clean whites. Immediate dramatic effect. Through the large format it allows a perception of the blur and a progressive entry in the image, in the sign, in the trace.

The photo placed on the ground and to be stepped on should be protected with resistant plastic material and an additional, overlying, anti-slip layer. It's necessary for the viewer to have to step on the image first in one direction (when entering the second room) and then in the other (when leaving). With the trail of footsteps, traces will be superimposed, on the print (of a photo) will be superimposed the prints (of shoes).

The choice of the installation is consistent and useful for the theme and perception (it helps to “see” and  to “live”).

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