Luca Santese: Mütter
Jun 9 – Jul 2, 2023

Luca Santese, Isabel, Brescia, Italy, 2022
You force me to reveal a higher mystery. –
Majestic goddesses enthroned in solitude
apart from space, outside of time
speak of them I find embarrassing –
these are the Mothers!
. . .
You’ll have to plumb the lowest depths to find their home,
but it’s your fault we need their help.

–Goethe, Faust [Lines 6212–6126]

 
The exhibition Mütter presented at Jergon is a retrospective of the first 15 years of Luca Santese’s practice. The artwork displayed touches on the constituent milestones of his own artistic research, which from the very beginning set out to radically question the relationship between the photographic image and reality itself. The exhibition itinerary begins from the rejection of photography as merely mimetic, mechanical reproduction of reality, and even less so in the case of documentary photography.

 

Arianna Arcara and Luca Santese, Found Photos in Detroit, Polaroid, 2012

Luca Santese, The Bull, Selvanesco, Italy, 2022

Luca Santese, Detroit, Mary, a single mother, with her son, 2009

This happens to be the starting point for Found Photos in Detroit, published together with Arianna Arcara – with whom Santese founded the collective Cesura – in 2012. The images from this series are in fact archival documents that time and weathering have altered, undisclosing new characteristics of the documents themselves and distancing the subjects they portray from reality only at first glance. The passing of time, on the contrary, together with the artists’ intervention, lets new truths otherwise concealed emerge from each individual document. Found Photos in Detroit constitutes an archaeology of the documentary image, a procedure that dismantles the mimetic status of photography, thus opening up the possibility of its authentically artistic purpose. This body of work, starting out from a strictly documentary medium, casts light on the need to emancipate photography from mimesis as the only possible condition for it to access the art realm. Moreover, this condition grants the artwork the essential strength to lead the spectator to question their own ordinary world view.

 

Luca Santese, SADO, Slave during a BDSM session, 2008

Luca Santese, Isabel, Brescia, Italy, 2022

Santese’s work reveals the deceit of the artistic image as well as its absolute necessity. Jergon’s display of Santese’s body of work is marked by well-recognizable phases of his research. In a cyclical time, albeit never the same, the artist approaches diverse subjects and creates images that dispute ordinary appearance. In the series Sado the ordinary nature of the human body is called into question. Depicted in borderline situations that are achieved through pain and constriction, the body reveals sides that must be necessarily repressed in everyday life. The Festa cycle is a mediation point between interiority and exteriority, a mirror, a prism between subject and object, between time and history, the soul and the world. The presence of archetypes throughout this series becomes increasingly explicit and leads the viewer on to the ‘world of Mothers’ from which the exhibition title stems.

 

Luca Santese, Errors, Error 311021 192415, 2021

Luca Santese, Festa, Persona, 2019

It is the world of ‘forms’ – of all forms possible – , a hyperuranium too bright to be let into without mediation, without a shield or a guide. They are the omnipotent forms from which everything in the world springs, where not even a God can take the lead, as it is reminded in Goethes’ Faust. The passage cannot happen without errors, though. The Errors series is made up by a number of works arising from the study of a mistake occurred in the digital production of an image. The artistic reworking of the photographic error can claim a century-long tradition and constitutes an underground current of photographic research at least from László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray onwards.

 

Luca Santese, Festa, Vanessa Io, 2019

Luca Santese, The Emperor, Brescia, Italy, 2022

Santese’s interpretation of the digital error molds new forms and enhances its fertility by depicting subjects ranging from human to nonhuman, from landscapes to actual sculptural works. Along the same lines of biological evolution, replication and selection mistakes stand at the core of change and development, they give life to new ‘shapes’: as in biology new life forms and species are born, so in Santese’s art new procreating shapes, archetypes and myths are generated. Each phase transition is thus an evolution, a movement that requires the construction of a new language, rebelling against those expressive norms that have become sterile and crystallized. Only in this way can one plunge – together with Faust – in the realm of the Mothers: the old shapes implode and give ado to a new kaos that is then arranged in new shapes, a new kosmos regulated by new internal laws, of which the author takes conscience and sets free through actual new art.

Text by Nicola Patruno

 

Luca Santese: Mütter
June 9 – July 2, 2023 / Jergon, Berlin
Visit the exhibition page >

David van Dartel: This Time Tomorrow
Mar 7 – Apr 26, 2024
David van Dartel, acclaimed Dutch Artist, presents a curated selection of his first two captivating and exceptionally successful series,...
+
Truth Told Slant: Contemporary Photography
Mar 1 – Aug 11, 2024
This exhibition will feature the work of five photographers who take unique approaches to documentary photography that challenge the...
+
Alex Webb: Dislocations
Publication
Dislocations presents a contemporary update of Alex Webb’s long out-of-print 1998 book by the same name first published by...
+
Fight Against the Sea Rise
Participatory Public Action by Andrea Stefanelli
Tracing methods typical of conceptual art, of performance and participatory art, Stefanelli seems to welcome the lesson of De...
+
BAM Winter/Spring 2024
Jan 15 – Jun 9, 2024
Experience the power of artistic community with BAM’s program. As bands play, dancers whirl, voices raise, and audience members...
+
International Women’s Day / 2024
Artpil / Prescription .148
Founded over 100 years ago evolving through various names and dates, this fulcrum of women’s rights was adopted by...
+
Sony World Photography Awards 2024
Winners & Finalists Announced
This diverse selection of photographs in this annual award is a window to the world, revealing fascinating points of...
+
Two Years into Ukraine
ARTPIL / Prescription .147
More terrible is love in Kyiv than magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies fly light and maculate into bright tapers. Dead...
+
David van Dartel: This Time Tomorrow
Mar 7 – Apr 26, 2024
David van Dartel, acclaimed Dutch Artist, presents a curated selection of his first two captivating and exceptionally successful series,...
+
Truth Told Slant: Contemporary Photography
Mar 1 – Aug 11, 2024
This exhibition will feature the work of five photographers who take unique approaches to documentary photography that challenge the...
+
Alex Webb: Dislocations
Publication
Dislocations presents a contemporary update of Alex Webb’s long out-of-print 1998 book by the same name first published by...
+
Fight Against the Sea Rise
Participatory Public Action by Andrea Stefanelli
Tracing methods typical of conceptual art, of performance and participatory art, Stefanelli seems to welcome the lesson of De...
+
BAM Winter/Spring 2024
Jan 15 – Jun 9, 2024
Experience the power of artistic community with BAM’s program. As bands play, dancers whirl, voices raise, and audience members...
+
International Women’s Day / 2024
Artpil / Prescription .148
Founded over 100 years ago evolving through various names and dates, this fulcrum of women’s rights...
+
Sony World Photography Awards 2024
Winners & Finalists Announced
This diverse selection of photographs in this annual award is a window to the world, revealing fascinating points of...
+
Two Years into Ukraine
ARTPIL / Prescription .147
More terrible is love in Kyiv than magnificent Venetian passions. Butterflies fly light and maculate into bright tapers.
+
  • Exteriors – Annie Ernaux and Photography
    Feb 28 – May 25, 2024
    MEP
    Paris, France

    Exteriors — Annie Ernaux and Photography celebrates the dynamic relationship between photography and the writing of Annie Ernaux. Winner of the Nobel Prize of Literature, Annie Ernaux is known for her social and feminist commitment and her ability to explore universal themes such as memory, identity and the human condition. Her precise style and emotional analysis have made her a major figure in contemporary literature. (more…)