When talking about Evil, one cannot help but also talk about Good. An antithesis explored since ancient times. From a metaphysical perspective, philosophers like Plato and, much later, George Wilhelm F. Hegel, considered Evil as the complete negation of Good. Other schools of thought, such as that of Thomas Hobbes or Immanuel Kant, instead introduce subjectivity, placing Good and Evil within the realm of human experience. They are not independent realities but develop based on human will, or rather, human desire. From a literary point of view, it is significant in this discourse to mention the Italian poet Giacomo Leopardi and his assertion that “Everything is evil,” meaning everything is ordered by Evil. Even more extreme, Ugo Foscolo provides proof of this in The Last Letters of Jacopo Ortis, where the protagonist reacts to Evil by denying it any possibility of Good. Suicide becomes here a positive act of extreme freedom.
If philosophers, writers, and poets have attempted to concretize in written form two entities as abstract as they are tangible, the photographer Marta Blue, on the other hand, seeks to capture an image of them, more precisely, an anatomy. Her obscure and surreal language, at times esoteric, reflects on the relationship between life and death, love and pain, and even more so, between nature and the occult. It is evident how Marta Blue chooses to explore an anatomy of Evil, one that does not disregard the existence of Good but rather accentuates its very negation. Through a series of photographs in which she often appears as the protagonist, the photographer obsessively pursues the nature of Evil, seeking it within the substance of the body, in oxymorons, and in symbolism. According to Marta Blue, Evil resides in the intimate, in the pains suffered and inflicted, which constantly cradle human existence. The impassivity of the subjects, sometimes pierced, sometimes marked by previous pain, contributes to creating a strong contrast that communicates a widespread atrophying in the face of Evil. Immobile, indifferent, the subjects observe the flow of pain, ready to embrace a new dose of it.
Marta Blue contemplates the concept of Evil as darkness. “Literally, it means the absence of light,” reflects the photographer. “Over time, I’ve come to realize that I can’t come up with a better concept than this. I can’t work on the joy of living if I know that there’s a limbo in our minds, a shadowy area that contains all our fears. An indefinite zone between darkness and light, where all our worst nightmares blend together.” The series Anatomy of Evil becomes a kind of emotional, intimate, and personal archive in which Good and Evil coexist, touch each other, almost court each other, until they merge into a single image. “Loneliness, death, and fear engage in a dialogue with innocent themes like youth, occultism, and seduction.” The boundary between pleasure and pain, love and hate, becomes blurred. The flower, often recurring in Marta Blue’s photographs, best exemplifies this concept. On one hand, the stem of the rose pierces the belly, as seen in Forget me not, or the lips, as in Circle of Love. On the other hand, its strong positive connotation and its symbolism of rebirth “break” the role it usually occupies, becoming an extension of the body, an act of liberation.
Nelle opere di Marta Blue il Male va ricercato su due piani, spesso inconsci. Il primo è astratto, intangibile, dalle molteplici manifestazioni, come l’assenza e la non-presenza, che diventa percepibile solo attraverso l’anima. Il secondo invece è visibile, materico. Emerge dalle viscere e si esplicita attraverso innesti sottocutanei che l’artista tenta di rimuovere, inserendo strumenti chirurgici. In entrambi i casi, Marta Blue tenta di trasporre, e allo stesso tempo di liberare, timori e ansie intrappolate nella psiche umana, creando segni e anatomie tanto surreali e oniriche quanto reali e condivise.
Courtesy Marta Blue