In Elisabetta Catalano’s photographic work, the image had the role to reveal and complete the performative work she was shooting for an artist. If the sequence of images was necessary for the documentation and reconstruction of the artist’s work, it was only through the choice of the symbolic image — the photograph that summarized the entire process of the artist — that the performance was considered done and the work readable.
In this performative process, the moment of selection thus played a crucial value for the photographer, who underlined on the contact sheets every potential image that characterized the whole sequence.
Following the curatorial request of the exhibition, which consisted in the reconstruction of the creative process in Elisabetta Catalano’s work — with specific focus in the moment of the photographer’s selection in the performative work of Joseph Beuys, Fabio Mauri, Vettor Pisani and Cesare Tacchi — for the graphic project of Elisabetta Catalano. Tra immagine e performance exhibition (MAXXI – National Museum of XXI Century Arts, Rome — from April 3 to December 22, 2019) we transformed the museum’s Archive wall into a large contact sheet.
Through the choice of a high density of exposed images, their size in the space of the wall and the presence of arrows and other signs referable to the language of the film’s development, we decided to lead the visitor to concentrate on reading the wall, as if he were immersed in a large contact sheet. The representative photographs of each performance (the same acquired by the museum and exhibited inside the Gallery 1 of the museum) are displayed in the foreground through an enlargement and are extruded in a parallelepiped shape that emerges from the wall, close to the other photographs exhibited in the original sequence in which they are present in the contact sheet.
Through the use of typography we chose to reveal the dry spaces of the photographic studio and the essentiality in the performative language of the Seventies. Graphics in outline refer to the sign of the pencil used by Elisabetta Catalano, imprinted in the contact sheets during the selection.
Exhibition curated by Aldo Enrico Ponis, in collaboration with Archivio Elisabetta Catalano.