Mirko Sperlonga‘s photography experiments with the imagery of the female figure, paving the way for the futuristic evolution of ‘Metal Woman’, the project presented at Liquida Photofestival. In these shots, the woman is resilient, protected by a suit of armor made of metal, and her hypnotic magnetism is indissolubly linked to the charm of the female body. A reinterpretation in a fluid and dynamic key transports the subject on a journey of exploration of her own resources, and, like vital bark, the metallic component enhances all those elements that are considered imperfections.
The liberating dance captured in the shots of ‘Metal Woman’ shows a woman strong in her armor, constantly in motion, committed to becoming the new Mother Nature and triumphing over conformist aesthetics. Mirko Sperlonga’s photography not only reveals his passion for fashion shots but also captivates the viewer’s gaze, engaging them in deciphering the thoughts of a female figure driven by the impulse to show her strength without fear.
It is from this gaze that a process of rehabilitation and exploration begins, outlining the new conception of woman according to the photographer, who – defining himself as an explorer landing on Earth for the first time – is obsessed with the subjects that surround him, this time focusing on resilient and dynamic femininity. Mirko Sperlonga’s shots seem to invite women to celebrate their uniqueness, accepting their individuality thanks to a new armor, that of the new Mother Nature. Take a look at Mirko Sperlonga’s photography on Instagram.
Henriette Sabroe Ebbesen is a Danish photographer who sets her practice at the intersection between science and art. Through reflections and distortions, her shots represent small scientific experiments that lead the observer to reflect on the different views and interpretations that an image can generate, asking questions about what can be defined as real.
We asked Henriette to reveal some curiosities about the winning shot of the Liquida Grant’s “NEW EYES” Award which, in addition to the latest edition of Liquida Festival in Turin, will be hosted at Collater.al Photography 2023 in Milan in September.
Your practice often includes distortions and reflections to challenge the viewer’s perception. In this shot, you seem to push that notion even further.How did you make the shot? Where was it taken?
The shot was taken in Spring 2019 in a huge grass field with a blue sky. My Friend Emma is the model. She is sitting on a huge mirror while holding a globe-sized silver ball. The image is taken into the mirror, so that the main part of the image is her reflection. Afterwards I’ve turned the image upside-down. This means that the legs you see in the bottom of the image are her real legs, while the rest of her body and the silver ball are from the reflection in the mirror.
Your shots are mainly taken in outdoor settings: is there a specific reason why you prefer natural environments?
The nude body and nature are elements that we know from the natural world. I find it interesting to place these objects in a surreal context as it creates a clash between something familiar and something odd. Geometrical structures and physical laws can be seen and discovered in the natural world around us. This is to me so fascinating, that it seems surreal. According to The Theory of Relativity you can bend space and time. You can argue this is in a way what I illustrate with my distortions by literally bending light rays with mirrors.
The weather is very important in my work, as I almost always shoot outdoors with strong sunlight and a blue sky. In this way the colors will appear the most vibrant and beautiful to me. On the technical side, I would need a huge studio in order to complete the works with all the reflections, as I don’t want the ceiling to be reflected for example. I think I also stay more true to my concept by creating the works in the real world rather than in a studio.
The female body is often the subject of stereotyped narratives. How can your “distortions” contribute to a breakdown of these preconceptions? How do you choose your models?
So many women including myself have a distorted view on their bodies, which has often been caused by society and the mass media. With my series “Feminine Development” I wanted to discuss this topic and celebrate the beauty of female sexuality, the female body, and its capability of giving birth. Using the mirrors to manipulate the body in this series serves to illustrate how we slowly move away from reality merging with a surreal, parallel world where it is questionable what a natural body looks like. I like my models to be “normal” people because they represent real and natural bodies. My models are most of the time my friends or family. It makes it more personal, and I like having an already established bond with the model I shoot. We also have a lot of fun and good talks while shooting.
You have also photographed pregnant women, a very delicate phase in the life of every woman: how does your approach change when shooting in front of these subjects?
Well I think not too different, but I approach all my models with a lot of respect, of course. I’m very grateful to them for helping me create the images. In regards to pregnant women I think more carefully of their well-being during the shoot, as they may be more limited physically than usual.
Per l’amor di Dio è un’espressione che esprime un’immagine della religione intesa come soluzione di salvezza, spesso associata a un senso di insoddisfazione o impazienza. È di uso comune, inserita nel linguaggio tanto quanto la religione stessa è pervasa, per ragioni molteplici e complesse, nella società. “For the love of god” (“per l’amor di Dio” appunto) è anche il titolo della serie fotografica dell’artista franceseBriceGelot, che Collater.al pubblica in anteprima in versione integrale. Lo sguardo è quello verso la religione – quella cristiano cattolica in particolare – intesa come sistema socio-culturale di comportamenti, che supera spiegazioni razionali tendendo alla trascendenza. Sta forse in questo non esaurirsi mai di significato nel mondo reale il successo dell’arte religiosa nel corso dei secoli, chiamata a interpretare e raffigurare simboli sempre uguali che però assumono di volta in volta significati nuovi.
Fotografare la fede diventa per Brice Gelot espressione del reale. Osservare come le persone affrontano le sfide della natura e fotografarle significa vivere in prima persona una vita di fede, che diventa uno strumento di comprensione e analisi di ciò che è sacro e profano. Negli scatti di Gelot emerge come la religione faccia parte dell’esperienza umana e come rappresenti una forza capace di plasmare il mondo che ci circonda e la sua rappresentazione estetica. Tattoo, statue, icone, nicchie per la venerazione dei santi, l’immaginario artistico di queste fotografie non è metafisico ma reale, vive lungo le strade e sulla pelle delle persone.
K-NARF and SHOKO, currently exhibiting at Numero 51 until June 10th, are a Franco-Japanese artistic duo that skillfully transforms the ordinary aspects of everyday life into extraordinary photographic projects. Blurring the line between reality and imagination, the HATARAKIMONO PROJECT – SATELLITE delves into the realm of portrait photography, experimenting with a unique blend of creativity and authenticity. Their unconventional approach to photography has garnered recognition from the prestigious Yves Klein Foundation, propelling them into the world of photography and contemporary art.
It all began in 2016 when K-NARF and SHOKO embarked on the HATARAKIMONO PROJECT in Tokyo, with a vision to create an extraordinary visual archive for the future. Over the course of two years, they took to the streets, armed with a portable backdrop, capturing moments that would later be transformed through their meticulous tape-o-graphic technique. This neo-analog method, invented by K-NARF and SHOKO in 2008, involved the painstaking manual transfer of photographs from Giclée archival prints onto transparent adhesive tape, resulting in a series of works that are truly one-of-a-kind and impossible to replicate.
In Japanese, hatarakimono refers to individuals who display unwavering dedication to their work, elevating their professions to a level of utmost dignity. But who are the hatarakimono portrayed by K-NARF and SHOKO in Milan? During their three-week stay in the city, the duo roamed the streets, capturing captivating images of various workers, including a diligent mosquito exterminator, a friendly gas station attendant, and the skillful bartender from the storied Camparino. In essence, hatarakimono can embody anyone and everyone—from airline pilots to bus drivers, from building ushers to chief executives.
The exhibition, however, goes beyond a mere display of the photographs taken in Milan. It offers visitors a comprehensive journey, with detailed explanations of both the hatarakimono concept and the intricate image processing techniques employed by the duo. The artistic duo’s ambition extends far beyond Milan, as they aim to expand their project to encompass 20 countries and 50 cities worldwide. Their quest for hatarakimono will ultimately yield an international image archive, preserving and recounting the stories of professions that may one day fade into obscurity.
Ph. courtesy Numero 51 – Concept Gallery and the artist duo K-NARF & SHOKO
Lorena Florio, born in ’96, is a photographer who has developed a distinct, eccentric, and layered aesthetic. With a degree in New Technologies from the Brera Academy, her work revolves around the inherent rifts in processes of human mutation and preservation. The restlessness of this theme serves as the starting point for the photographer’s creative process, as she approaches the Japanese art of kintsugi in her project Lacerazioni which involves the reconstruction and embellishment of a damaged object.
Lorena Florio’s images bear witness to a journey of growth and transformation, becoming layered sculptural bodies. Comprised of fragments, fractures, stratifications, and reconstructions, the photographer’s work seeks to transform the act of photography into an object, presenting the audience with a strange yet incredibly captivating imagery. Florio showcases visceral figures, produced by the merging of small parts onto a new body, concealing their complexity through the presence of anthropomorphic elements.
These shots unsettle us, exposing the ever-changing nature of the human body. We are alive, yet we can never fully grasp the relentless and silent mutation of our bodies. Thanks to Florio’s photography, it is possible to perceive the buzz of the eternal, the growth in its most delicate mutability. Discover more of Lorena Florio’s shots on Instagram.