Mattia Campo Dall'Orto

01.08.2014 – 31.08.2014

Triumph Gallery, Moscow

The distorted identity of Perfect Strangers: Memories of the fragility of the Belle Époque


The series Perfect Strangers creates an artistic passage from humanity of the beginning of the 20th century, on the brink of global tragedy, to modern society, to the summit of our own Belle Époque.


Dozens of old photographs from Austria, Croatia, Greece, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Russia and the USA lie at the foundations of this artistic study. Old studio pictures depicting people we don't know, people who have been forgotten, but who have served as a source of inspiration for a series of works that captures the similarities and differences between their time and our own present day. Soldiers, mothers, migrants, boys and gentlemen are all presented to us with the use of varied techniques: in their portraits, realism and deformation of the image is combined, a distortion that provides evidence for us of the heavy load of modernity in this attempt to reconstruct identity.


The outcome is a humanity that has never been so far away and so close at the same time: men, women and children of Europe that would be irrevocably lost following the outbreak of the First World War.


The art historian Kristian Sturi describes the Perfect Strangers series thus: "This is a personal exhibition in which the artist concentrates his attention on the issue of time and collective and individual recognition of one's role in history through its visual representation. From the photographic cards of the beginning of the 20th century to transformations and decompositions of the images of people through the use of artist techniques, Campo Dall'Orto moves towards a stage of assimilation, dissecting and breathing new life into the ghosts that fill old family albums and random photographs from flea markets in order to create an artistic ‘distillate’ infused with time and history, an alchemical compound which, from silver salts shifts to the technique of oil painting, and to the calligraphic study of lettering, without losing the source of the work. In the artist's work it is possible to see an embodiment of one of the Lavoisier's laws, according to which 'in the chemical reaction nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, but everything is transformed’. In the light of this fact, we can try and expose to this chemical reaction of compounding and fragment ourselves, together with these Perfect strangers returned to life in Mattia's creations."