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Paolo Aldi e Luigi Serravalli

Luigi Serravalli with Paolo Aldi

Fluttuazioni Galleria Le due spine

Le due spine Gallery

Fluctuations - Critical essays

Critical essay by Luigi Serravalli on the occasion of the exhibition “Fluctuations” at the Le due spine Gallery of Rovereto. 1998. (Translation 2021 by Chris Culy)


Photography is a universal medium. It is exploited, used, sodomized by an infinite number of uses that are almost always cheap, vulgar, consoling, post-romantic, inadequate and inefficient. Exploited, above all the female nude, for lowly advertising uses. It comes out of the eyes; it has in many cases something unacceptable, cadaverous; it appears obnoxious, to be avoided as much as possible. Or sensuous in an immediate, vulgar way (Valeria Marini's body). Phenomena of unculture or low culture, television overflow.


But, at the same time, at the most recent documenta in Kassel, the work of the photographer had always almost bypassed that of the brush and paint. A recent Biennial was won by two photographers from Düsseldorf and photography has its own autonomous space from Mappelthorpe to Oliviero Toscani, where this anthology of signs acquires meanings of a very different depth. In our Region this is rare, but I can also cite the example of the Fasoli couple of Trento who, working on the computer and starting from photographs, have gained international acclaim.  Following the American C. S. Peirce, I would like to mention the development of ideas on photography (and therefore on cinema) by H. Bergson and then by Gilles Deleuze who studied the relationship between photography and time, space, movement etc. Today there are many types of cameras and papers for printing as well as light-sensitive materials, so that the modern photographer (and Paolo Aldi is one) and photography are correctly and prominently situated among the visual arts. Even if this is not understood by the masses, who degrade photography to a low-profile consumer system. A system of signs capable of symbols, metaphors and allegories leads us ( following De Saussurre) to a new language, illustrated, among other things, by Umberto Eco himself. Language is the characteristic unique to man. I speak, therefore I am, rather than the old I think, therefore I am. But we could also say: I photograph, I make films, therefore I am. In other words, I become aware, through mechanical means, of the existence of a world around me that belongs to me and that is mine alone: research, the analysis of this world is the most authentic reason, the exultation of our being here, leaving traces, with new media which follow the infinite historiographies that the Egyptians taught us with their system of hieroglyphics.


Aldi's nudes are his invention, discovery, investigation, thus his alphabet. Communication. Language. Flow. Life. Fluctuation. Rotation. Movement. (The photo that comes into contact with, in comparison to, emulation of, challenge to, competition with cinema and therefore Video). In the heart of post-modernism.


Aldi here frequents the female nude. The nude is the truth, we are born nude. The Greeks exalt through the nude the idea of beauty. The Middle Ages erased the nude as obscene. Only the Christs on the Cross and St. Sebastians were permitted (and these were often feminized). With the Renaissance, the nude returned to art as a true protagonist. But someone still put underpants on the damned of the Sistine Chapel. Today the nude leads us to different philosophical divisions of great relevance. The nude is the body, in symbiosis with the mind. The nude is my "other". I continuously dialogue with my body, to which, however, I must recognize an autonomy that is very difficult to explore. The “Camera” helps me in this flow of frames. A flow (Heraclitus), a fluctuation in time and space.

Paolo Aldi offers us his personal interpretation, a part of his dialogue with the female body: images that are never the same but prove to be difficult to stop within themselves. Bodies immersed in the amniotic fluid of space-time. Like the stars that travel through the eons of eternity in which they are enclosed, the infinities, around us. The nude thus also becomes the sacred. The photographer has disappeared: we are faced with the artist tout court. We hope that Paolo Aldi will one day be able to work with a movie camera and the means of the great industry of images. These nudes, signifiers, float in the Heideggerian being as in the Husserlian phenomenology, that is in a postmodernism, now free from traditional systems. I would say, in Rovereto, in a postmodernism à la Franco Rella. In this sense this killer show, among other things having a high technical content, should constitute a shock or even a genuine starting point for a local revolution in the field of photography. A personal friend of Marcello Gatti, very often I recognize in the directors of photography the greatest merit of the cinema I love the most. Storaro won the prize for best photography at Cannes, but I think that his award was the most authentic one, on a par with that of Angelopulos. Photography therefore “über alles”.

Finally, we must apologize because, until now, in our city, we had not foreseen the possibility of the emergence of a photographer-artist, aware of the differences of the future rather than the similarities of the past.


Luigi Serravalli, Rovereto, May 1998.

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