In viaggio con Mario Messori 1960/2016

Travelling with Messori

In 2016, when I was looking through the Eni Archive in Pomezia, I discovered two ring binders containing hundreds of contact prints. They had been made by “AGIP Geologist” Lauro Messori, who was in Iran from 1958 to 1960. On each sheet were his handwritten notes: signs, words, and scientific diagrams referring to the countryside and the people he met on his journey around Iran. Very often it seemed as if they were invading the image.
There in front of me was an exquisitely created photographic tale by a geologist who loved photography not just for scientific reasons, but also as a way of capturing the world he encountered on his daily travels. And so I embarked on a journey within a journey, using a scanner to recompose the images freely, following the flow of my fascination. For this is also a chronicle of Messori’s feelings, in which he tells of the things that aroused his curiosity during his work days. He photographs his colleagues, who were taking rock samples out in the Iranian desert to be analysed back in Rome, drawing a link between the researcher’s scientific thinking and photography’s free thought. He uses writing and images as if he is putting together geological and mental maps in which the nature surrounding him is described in a vision that is not rhetorical but transparent, with a direct line between lucid scientific thinking and the lyricism of a sensitive, sharp eye.
I took his “object” – the two binders with their proof sheets – and converted it into a “thing”, creating a second archive out of the materials of the object itself – the cardboard mounting sheets with the proof sheets glued on them, with the remains of his writing and signs. I did not use his negatives to print from but used a scanner instead and then got into post-production, joining parts of photographs that were close to or far from each other, mixing tones of shade and replacing pictures with others to create new sequences, but always leaving the written notes, often cut out and made illegible, as if they were coming out of their own scan. In this way I built a sequence between the multitudes that allowed themselves to be constructed, a sequence that was both narrative and symbolic, and highly suggestive too, one in tune with my own research because a “thing is life”. Literally, it is whatever exists in reality or the imagination.
My project finally took shape in a long, uninterrupted roll of images, like a metaphorical movie, running from one photo to the next, and I am there, taking part in Messori’s journey, albeit at a certain distance of time.
“Here is time being overturned again”, to cite Alessandro Castiglioni, “seeming to suggest a whole series of questions that are dear to Cresci and that are clearly present in this exhibit: non-chronological time, non-Euclidic space, non-linear narrative.
These conditions cannot help but lead us to a radical re-reading of the ENI archive, one that is radical in terms of freedom and autonomy, and capable not only of writing a different yet possible story but also of asking questions and casting doubt on facts we surely think we know.”

Mario Cresci (Chiavari, 1942) is one of the first of his generation in Italy to apply and link project culture to experimentation with visual languages. Starting in the seventies he fused the study of photographic language and project culture with interests in cultural anthropology, creating projects in Basilicata that would become central to the development of photography in Italy, among which was his 1975 book Matera, immagini e documenti. The experimental project of the laboratory-school for artistic training involving art, multimedia and design, which had been conceived by the Region of Basilicata, brought him closer and closer to teaching, which from the late seventies became an integral part of his work.
He is the author of pluriform works characterized by a freedom of research that ranges from design to photography, video experience and installation.
His recasting of the meaning of landscape and the construction of the photographic image led him to being one of the key artists in the exhibition Viaggio in Italia, which Luigi Ghirri organized at the Pinacoteca Provinciale di Bari in 1984. Cresci’s most recent one-man shows include Le case della Fotografia, 1966-2003, an anthology show held at the Galleria Civica d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAM) in Turin in 2004; Forse Fotografia, a travelling show that was exhibited at the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, the Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica in Rome, and the Palazzo Lanfranchi in Matera from 2010 to 2012; Ex-post. Orizzonti momentanei at the Museo d’Arte (MA*GA) in Gallarate in 2014; In aliam figuram mutare at the Castello Sforzesco in Milan and Mario Cresci. Ri-creazioni at the Camera di Torino in 2016.
He has also created a large, articulate range of books, and more generally a number of contributions, also theoretical, on photography and visual communication.

Formato chiuso cm 16 x 23 , formato aperto cm 23 x 500
fotografie in b.n.
Euro 25.00
With english text