Visual Alchemy

Maria Chiara Fagioli

Abstract liquid photography is the new old unphotographable

The exploration of the photographic medium thus reaches the abstract genre, the crucial limbo of many practices from painting to music. Technically blurred or not exactly sharp, multi-exposure, in immediately recognizable compositions, sometimes distorted, the photographs become interpretive and subjective. Abstract thought turns out to be vast, a free flow less constrained by schemes and rationality. Many photographers have pursued the invisible, or rather, what is distant from the visible, from the real. They are seekers of dreams, deities, builders of liquid and chameleon-like thoughts. Variables vary from the aesthetic factor to a more functional one, such as optics and science. Without powerful telescopic derivations we would ignore the lunar craters or other wonders of the solar system and surroundings. We can also mention other uses, light-beam or electron microscopes, and facial recognition that interact with global security systems. In the last months of 2017, Apple are also improving the Face ID technology, which scan faces via smartphones, mirror less camera and selfie logic. Some improvements to be implemented due to inaccurate authorizations. So photography is about computer engineering in the digital age, but also about dreams and allegories. Unthinkable worlds can be seen, and what we see becomes astonishment and representation of a limit just a moment before unimaginable. And from a photograph, visual and infrared mapping spectrometer, and from 13 years of Cassini’s orbit, we could hypothesise life on Saturn.


© Alvin Langdon Coburn, Vortograph, 1917, Photography


The distinctions between image and photography remain an almost unresolved issue, due to the various forms of representation and use. A labyrinthine meaning takes shape between sense and nonsense, in which the spectator without any reference point is unprepared and forced into too personal reasoning or emotion. So Pollock and Alvin Langdon Coburn’s Vortograph recall the spirals of the spirit, expanding colours and hallucinatory jets up to the kaleidoscope, not only an aesthetic appeal but an intense way of experiencing the creation itself, all-encompassing. Exploratory. The more or less organised entropic figures distance themselves from tradition and from indexical univocality, and this is the great fracture ontological and of significance, as well as immediate commercial embarrassment. The vision is transformed into turning leaves, photomontages, in which disciplines and vision of visions merges, and seal new and contrasting feelings because not completely grasped, even if they come from everyday life.


© Maria Chiara Fagioli, Anaesthesia series, 2017-2018, Digital photography, 50 × 75 cm


As in the well-known exponent of the Bahuaus László Moholy-Nagy, photography is the presence of thought, whether geometric and rational, or more casual and instinctive. Hence, new approaches to the genre and the image builders raise, no longer passive moment depictions, but waiters for Godot and visual alchemists. These distinctive efforts take shape into new codifications, composing images and stylistic individualities and languages.
The abstracts are distinguished into pure and real, and it is precisely the same concrete root that makes the intellectual process non-objective and contradictory in terms. Acceptance and liking are often proportional to our receptivity to new models. American pictorialism and expressionism have followed up personal imaginaries that can open to the universe. Geometries, colours, or dynamic fluids make the composition, which in turn may result in a harmonious product of elements.
The judgment coincides with the break-through openness.



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