The exhibition “Diachronicles. Giulia Parlato“, which showcases the work of the Sicilian photographer and winner of the last edition of Giovane Fotografia Italiana | Premio Luigi Ghirri 2022.
A photographic project developed over the past four years between Palermo, the Sicilian hinterland and London, where the photographer currently lives. Parlato told Collater.al what themes the project deals with, which through black and white shots wants to deepen the link between archaeology and photography, which is fundamental for the construction of historical knowledge, but also a revealing tool of the impossibility of knowing the past thoroughly.
“The project,” says Giulia Parlato, “focuses on archaeological excavation as a process through which one can discover but also destroy, I wanted to analyze the relationship between photography and modern archaeology, which are born together and thus have always had a connection.” On the choices of subjects depicted, the photographer then adds that “the project is presented as a historical-photographic archive in which it seems to be collecting clues, it is actually constructed by taking cues from documentary photography, both archaeological and forensic crime scene photography. In all photographs I tend to construct even quasi-desert scenarios from which I extract elements. Other subjects I have photographed are historical forgeries; I have taken some preserved inside museums in Palermo or at the British Museum. At the latter, I asked for x-ray scans of fakes they had purchased thinking they were authentic works, only to find out later that they were just reproductions.”
The project talks a lot about how all these fragments, which can be architectural or art objects, have moved through time, after being found they have been lost in archives, buried or stolen, highlighting human responsibility in the writing of history.
Giulia Parlato added that “some of these fragments in many cases take on value only once they are found and brought to a museum. That is why I also shot the cases, which determine precisely the success of one object and the way others are forgotten, this tells a lot about the way we tell ourselves history, with all the limitations of the case. All these mechanisms we use to classify and catalog can create historical holes.”
Many of the project’s photographs were taken in terra vecchia, an ongoing excavation in the Sicilian hinterland. The photographer collaborated with a group of archaeologists, working with them to construct images that recreated an imagery of archaeological photography. “There are photos that I built from scratch, to create this idea of magic and the fascination that is associated with the idea of finding artifacts, revealing a piece of the past. In fact, some of the images have glows, an effect I also used in the video that accompanies the photo series.”
On the stylistic choice and absence of color Giulia added that “the images are in black and white because I wanted to play a bit with the preconception we have of archaeological photography. A lot of the research I did inside the archives is on black and white photos and this choice gave more the idea of temporal suspension and detachment.”
All the shots will be on display at Triennale Milano until March 26, 2023.