One of the first questions that came to mind after visiting Valentina´s atelier and seeing her work was if that was indeed photography or we were actually looking at some other hybrid expression of art. In fact, in Valentina´s process of creation there is absolutely no digital procedure and the camera itself gets a secondary (although unavoidable) role.
What drove you to Photography? And to Berlin?
The choice of this medium was mostly an instinctive decision. I’ll never stop to understand it. It attracts me to know that in a photographic work there is a sense of a past reality which can not be ignored, which is gone, but still present. In my works you can’t see the reality anymore, because I “manipulated” it, but you can be sure that what you see existed somehow. And this residue of reality troubles me and fascinates me at the same time.
Why Berlin? Before to come to Berlin, I was living in Budapest and studying art. I was undecided whether to go to London or Berlin, I chose what I thought was the most creative and underground environment. But today I’m not sure if it was a good idea.
Tell me a little bit about your technique, how do you develop, how is the lab procedure?
The post-production process, during which the photographic data are selected and partially used, is made of arbitrary cuts of the image, erasures, light drawings, selective developments of the picture through the use of brushes and cloths, and other less well-known. The result is an artistic product that differs significantly compared to the initial photographic shooting. My interest is to explore the expressive potential of the photographic medium, ignoring the boundaries with the other visual arts and taking from them methods and aesthetic codes.
What influences can we expect in your art? What is the background of this particular style of yours, and by that I mean those fading black & white portraits, the unrecognisable figures and the will of traping ephemeral instants, voice or movement.
It’s not easy for me to answer to this question, because certainly I have been influenced by many more things than I think. I’ll try to describe at least some aspects. Films have influenced me a lot, for example the ones of Peter Greenaway for the image composition or the silhouettes of the Ingmar Bergman’s films.
Behind the fragility and evanescence of my figures I can recognize the strong influence of artists that I admire, like the sculptor Alberto Giacometti and the painter Amedeo Modigliani. But I also feel influenced by the stylized forms of the medieval art and the way to treat a topic in many parts (diptychs, triptychs, polyptychs). In my pictures you can find also the decadence of my hometown Catania: the dark buildings and the strong contrasts of light and shadow, the sunny and narrow streets of Sicily, the pseudo-religiosity of my Country, the aesthetics of the great italian art that I contemplate in the architecture, in every church and even in the landscape.