International Biennial of Contemporary Art Ljubljana,
23 June - 24 September 2000
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Simone Berti
  *1966, lives in Milan

Untitled, 2000, photographs

Already in his early works, namely video installations, Simone Berti called attention to the problem of the precariousness of the present moment. Berti once wrote that only in a given situation when everything becomes doubtful, could some level of certainty be achieved. He often imagines objects and situations which seem as if they were destined for failure from one moment to another, merely due to momentary nausea. A group of people posing for the camera can quite readily be compared with painted portraits, in the way that, for a certain moment, they freeze. It is entirely irrelevant whether this takes place in front of the camera or in front of the painter's eye. In each case the balance or stability that a person is capable is brought into question - in the physical and in the mental sense. The protagonists in the photograph are placed within the complex of a metal structure, which gives even greater emphasis to the severity of the pose, so characteristic of group portraits. The composition is particularly reminiscent of old snapshots when photographers required the human body to remain as still as possible for a longer period, so that they could produce an acceptable photograph. Of course, that waiting brought about a feeling of unease and disquiet, which overwhelmed the subjects. This impatience to get it over with as soon as possible can be observed in their faces and attitudes which often seem exaggerated and uneasy to the point of masked artificiality. Of course, these photographs can also be interpreted as a search for excellence in composition, as a formally perfect recording, which can be obtained precisely by clamping the subjects into a kind of standing solid structure that prevents the slightest movement.

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