“I don’t have the custom to delete anything”, Maria told me. She continued: “Every picture is important, every picture is part of a memory”. As I look through her free-to-browse available photo-book, I can understand why. With all the beautiful flaws and perfect captures, her amazingly curated “Viaggioattraverso” (it. “Journey Through”) is a visual diary that makes you believe you stepped somewhere you don’t really belong.
Maria Chirco is an Italian fine photographer and a ceramic painter, based, as she says, “between Italy, Germany and Malta”, with a view on creative process inspired by all these three artistic environments. Her art body, mostly built on black & white analog photographs represents an authentic inner journey through the artist’s self-conscious. A personal encyclopedia of long forgotten emotions. Maria’s recently published book, a highlight of 15 years of photographic activity, is a sequence of hand-picked memories that piece out in more than 50 pages, an intimate diary of baudelairean aesthetics.
At the end of the last year she was admited to a residecy program for artists by Institut für Alles Mögliche where she participated with a project combining photography, music and performance. More about it below.
Cultartes: What was the weirdest photo you ever caught on camera and why did you (supposedly) destroy it?
Maria Chirco: I think I’ll never destroy a weird picture because weirdness is exactly what I’m looking for. From my statement: “the search for a truth that often leads to compete with unconventional features, sometimes grotesque, with aspects that not always belong to what for definition we call “beautiful”, but rather true and unconscious.” This is me, this is my work.
Another reason for which I’ll never destroy a weird picture is maybe that, first of all, the way I’m taking pictures, the technique; I work mainly with the analogical photography, this means that I use negative films and I could not think, never, to destroy one of my negatives. If I don’t like something, I usually apply some intervention with some scratch on it (see “Geister Series”).
Anyway, even when I work with digital I don’t have the custom to delete anything because every picture is important, every picture is part of a memory, a moment, a feeling, and of course my works are almost about memories and feelings.
What do you think about creativity in “social media” era? Is it still worth something? Is it crushed under the emerging informational technology? Can people (artists) still be creative when they melt their brains into screens everyday?
I think that social media are very important for an Artist, because, if used in the right way, you can discover a lot, getting inspired, know new artists, galleries, curators. For example, I found you through Facebook by chance, while I was reading the Anna Varney interview. So, all this stuff is very important today, but is it also important not to be “addicted” from it, let our brain and our creativity work spontaneously.
Your last year’s exhibition was combined with some sort of performance. Tell me a little bit more about it.
Last December I was admitted to a residency for artists, by the “Institut für Alles Mögliche”. It was a great experience, full of inspiration. For my Open studio Exhibition I created a work called “Still Talking”, about a concept related to the Forest and the Sea, the relationship between these two elements has always been recurring in my whole life. The work is made up of a series of 15 photographs in black and white. Among other things, I took some inspiration as well from a Poem called “Oread” by Hilda Doolittle.
However, I wanted to make something different, rather than a normal and static exhibition, so I decided to engage other artists for a unique and special collaboration for the achievement of my idea. In particular, I decided to involve the experimental music project called God In Panic. I think they are amazing and their music fits well with the nature of my work. I’ve already collaborated with them for other projects, being also their official photographer and artwork curator. I thought that it would have been great to make something new for the Open Studio, introducing and offering something different to the public, so we started to make some plans about it, about how to combine pictures with music and how to stimulate people’s curiosity.
About her book: “Nevertheless my real intent was to seal an important chapter of my life”
But it was still not enough for me, I was looking for something else to add to my concept, to complete the mix of visual and acoustic textures, then I thought that a dance performance would have been the perfect link to combine them. I started to think about a dancer who could join my project, someone interesting, unusual. Afterwards, when I went to Berlin, I felt very lucky to find out that just my Residency neighbour, Magali Benvenuti, was the person that I was looking for. She a professional contemporary dancer from France, it was love at first sight. She immediately revealed her interest in my proposal showing dedication and professionalism. So I and my “team” worked a lot together and finally we were able to combine all these different arts, providing the show with a very exciting and inspiring amalgam in one great event. It was a great feeling!
Praise your photo-book for a while. Why did you put it together? It felt like a personal prize for all this years of hard work? Is it maybe just a visual diary where you tried to capture your memories in order to never let them go?
I’ve been waiting so long before thinking about a book, but finally the idea of producing my own one came spontaneously, a few months ago. My Artist Book “Viaggioattraverso” is the result of an inner and introspective research. It is designed to seal a cycle of work carried out since the beginning of my career so far.
A “journey through” (this is the English translation of the title) fifteen years of shooting in black and white spread over about 90 pages. Maybe it can be seen as a sort of a visual diary as well, and, of course, as a document which could keep all my memories and my feelings in order to never let them go, nevertheless my real intent was to seal an important chapter of my life. Moreover, I see it as something that has to be done to grow up artistically, to go on and especially to reinvent myself.