The Italian artist Carlo Gavazzeni Ricordi creates evocative photographic work that considers historical buildings and monuments in various stages of decay. The artist has represented Italy at the 54th Venice Biennale and participated at the III Biennial de Valencia, Spain. In 2012 he was honoured with a solo exhibition at the Hermitage in St Petersburg and Schusev State Museum of Architecture in Moscow.
His first exhibition in London showcases a series of photographic works that capture the forgotten monuments of Rome. Amongst Gavazzeni Ricordi’s favourite subjects is the 19th century theatre at Villa Torlonia, which he photographed before a recent restoration by Pirelli Cultura. This impressive structure was in disrepair for many years, but within its crumbling, graffiti-stained walls the artist was able to evoke the beauty of a neglected yet dignified interior. The space holds particular fascination for the artist, whose grandfather was principal conductor and artistic director at La Scala, as it is filled with memories of performances and unites his passion for art, music and theatre. He has also photographed landmarks of the Grand Tour including the Villa Medici, the Forum and the Castel Sant’Angelo, bringing their less familiar aspects into the consciousness of a contemporary audience.
An entirely self-taught artist, Gavazzeni Ricordi has developed his own techniques to create a range of effects in his work. His negatives are sometimes destroyed within two days due to the high level of chemicals and processes he uses. By repeatedly shooting the same negative to achieve different viewpoints, the artist creates a three dimensional quality and transforms the specifics of the location by reversing or superimposing the images. Their ‘liquid’ finish gives the work a highly contemporary appeal, yet their ‘sfumato’ aesthetic also harks back to a long artistic tradition.