To give legitimacy to ordinary moments that have slipped into oblivion with their protagonists, elevating vernacular photography to the form of art. These are the aims of the creative space Arcipèlago, founded by Artemio Croatto and Charlotte Ménard at interior of the graphic studio Designwork of Udine, which until 22 January 2022 exhibits an accurate – mysterious and disturbing – selection of about fifty anonymous photographs taken between the 40s and 60s.
Orphaned, enigmatic – exciting – photographs recovered in the markets
Hazardous shots, out-of-date situations, anonymous faces, yet still able to convey emotions. The images – amateur, orphan, enigmatic – di Lost and Found. Anonymous photographs 1940 -1960. are part of the personal collection of Cristian Malisan, who has been recovering photographic material in the markets for years.
A narrative erosion to give voice to
Thousands of negatives, rolls, slides – and as many stolen moments – which over the years have undergone an inevitable narrative, as well as physical erosion, linked to the disappearance of the photographer, the protagonists and all those who shared those stories of life ordinary.
Simple stories to reflect in
Their rediscovery allows to give voice to simple stories, made of small things, woven of moments, intimate episodes of life, often familiar, funny, surprising or moving. Pieces of everyday lives in which to reflect.
Collective memory: images that become everyone’s
“Immersing yourself in the past lives of these strangers is a fascinating journey through the miracle of photography. These amateur and anonymous images create a vast collective memory, a universal kaleidoscope” explains Artemio Croatto, co-curator of the exhibition. “The names, dates, and places are lost, but the permanence of the emotions resists. And these clichés that no longer belong to anyone become the images of everyone”.
The legitimacy of vernacular photography
Through the Lost and Found project, Arcipèlago explores the art inherent in the ordinary and the importance of vernacular, practical photography, often reserved for amateurs, which he develops in the periphery of what is of reference in the artistic field, which has always been kept out of what is considered worthy of interest by the main instances of cultural legitimation.
Saving people from the oblivion of time
“Every amateur practice of photography with its out-of-date situations, its anonymous faces, is by nature “familiar”. They are rarely “beautiful” in the artistic sense of the term: yet they retain, they solicit more than any other lost object” explain Cristian Malisan, co-curator of the exhibition.
“I do not collect these images because I hope sooner or later to find the roll of Robert Capa’s D-Day” Malisan continues. “ I rather feel it like a mission: I wish to save these moments from the oblivion of time. I think that if these negatives came up to me, it means that there isn’t any more relatives, friends or acquaintances to collect and preserve their inheritance”.