Text Adelaide Striano
Concrete, the exhibition by architecture photographer Federico Torra, which opened last Thursday 23rd of March at Blanka Studio Fotografia presents defined architectural structures offset by the light cutting through, which delineates shapes and enhances textures and surfaces. Federico Torra’s photographs are landscape fragments, visual slivers plucked away from the passing of time and brought into compositions upon which the gaze lingers. Buildings, walls and staircases become shapes thanks to the complicit help of the light, which, in turns, elucidates and disorientates, adding and removing tri-dimensionality to and from the composition. The framing pleases the eye but leaves the viewer free to look ahead to imagine a void that is filled with the rigor of daily life. Following the studies in History of contemporary Art, Federico Torra attended Cfp Bauer in Milan where he specialized in photography and fine-tuned his visual sensitivity. The sensitivity of somebody who still choses analog photography as a means of focusing and fully immersing himself, as a way of not wasting images in a process that works towards a minimalist synthesis. The photographs on display reveal architectures and structures that free themselves from their material being to get closer to the very idea of themselves in a progressive nearing abstraction: images detoxify from the superfluous to go back to the essential.
How did the exhibition come about?
«The exhibition is the result of the last three years of work during which I photographed architectures seeking to distance myself from traditional architecture photography. Of well-known architectures, which I studied and researched, I sought to capture the most anonymous and ordinary aspects through which the buildings reveal themselves, with their weaknesses and the most every day, concrete nature. Starting from these anonymous corners and flaked walls, I tried to go beyond the pure orderly representation of architecture, I sought to extract the lines and geometries of the layout to try and bring the representation to a two-dimensional, almost abstract, plane».
Can you tell us about the journey of your passion for photography?
«It started as a kid when looking at the photographs my father used to shoot during his work trips, those images were then played at home as if it was our small, personal cinema theater. It could be because they were taken on the other side of the world to me, but I was fascinated by how everything seemed different: people, streets, houses, cars. Nowadays we are so bombarded with images that we find that everywhere and any place – regardless of how far-flung – looks just the same. Through photography I seek to limit such feeling of anesthetization. The use of film and the waiting time before I can see a photograph helps me concentrate and select beforehand what interests me and I wish to keep, printed on film, forever».
What are your sources of inspiration?
«I always find it difficult to reply to a question about my sources of inspiration as, having studied history of art at university, the sources I ought to cite would probably be too many. Let’s just say that my photographs can be seen as a slow assimilation process between my visual experiences and the artists and photographers I encountered and studied throughout my education journey».
What do you wish to convey through your photographs?
«A sense of calmness and irreality in which the observer can find something familiar and, at the same time, mysterious. A photography that, despite employing formal rigor, does not come across as cold and detached».
Do you have photography-related projects in the pipeline?
«After photographing the exteriors of well-known architectures, I’d like to focus on the interiors of private homes and see how people inhabit their personal living spaces. I have been working on this project for a year and I hope to be able to give it a definite shape soon».