Postcards From Italy
This work has been exhibited from July to October 2020 at the Plaza Project Art Room in Viareggio Italy. Curated by Claudio Composti.
Postcards from Italy is a project about the memory of the iconic cultural and historic Italian sites and the relationship we as viewer develop with those in this age dominated by social media and technology.
Carolina Sandretto is an Italian photographer who lived and worked several years in New York city. During those years, she travelled back home for the holidays and started travelling in her own country and feeling like a tourist.
From the late 1700, the young and rich heirs of the European families started visiting Italy during a voyage known as a Grand Tour, meant to study its beauties and experience its culture as the finishing touch of their education. To be able to travel thru Italy was the gift to expand their culture from their families of the adventure of a lifetime. At that time photography was not an industrial process and the travelers visiting the country could bring home written memories, drawings and postcards of the iconic places they visited.
Carolina, photographed the iconic cultural monuments she encountered during the years of her Grand Tours around Italy. As an artist, she wanted to explore the relationship between the visitors and the place itself, and its evolution due to the presence of recording devices between them.
In the last 50 years, more people had the chance to visit iconic cultural landmarks around the world. Travelling is now a matter of hours and not weeks and the relationship with these landmarks has changed. We are not living in Rome to spend three months in its palaces and study the ruins like at the time of the Grand Tour, all we need is to have a proof that we have been there for our community. A picture, preferably with us in it, of the monument itself will prove we have experienced the place and augment our ratings on social medias. This mediated way of experiencing a place, always thru the screen of a device, and often for the benefit of a virtual public, has changed forever the perception of the places we visit.
The artist took the opposite approach by photographing those places with an analogue camera to be obliged to wait for the right time of the day and therefore to enjoy the place itself for many hours to produce a memory of the place itself. By imagining what would have been the emotion felt when seeing the Colosseum for the first time, she transformed the photograph itself into a memory of what the experience could have been in the 1800. To these photographs, she superposed old postcards of those same places, to demonstrate that the places have not changed, but our view and way of experiencing them has, due to the new technologies.
These superposed photographs want to take the viewer back to when the Grand Tour was an adventure full of surprises, when time was the most available resource and when there was no mediation between the viewer and the emotion of seeing for the first time a place like the Pisa Tower.