Silvia Mariotti
born 1980 in Fano, Italy — she lives and works in Milan
About
Silvia Mariotti
born 1980 in Fano, Italy — she lives and works in Milan

Photography is Silvia Mariotti’s main, but not the only tool for her artistic research of the habitat surrounding us, identifying the linkages between artificial and natural. The photomechanic eye pauses on elusive atmospheres, anomalous elements or enigmatic situations; it strives to isolate the gaze from the clamor of life, stubbornly to slow down syncopated rhythm to grab those chips that – when considered individually – make up the fabric of existence, dotted with desires and longings, balances and contradictions, lights and shadows. In all her works, Silvia Mariotti tries to gather experience on places and people to better reflect the environmental and social situation in which we live.

Her recent photographic production presents works that are made by using only the nocturnal light of the moon.  In 2015 she investigated an extraordinary natural phenomenon characterized by a strong historical connotation – the artist has in fact chosen to photograph vertical caves, chasms, large sinkholes in Istria and Karst known as foibe. These sinkholes are a controversial subject – both in the public debate and in the personal exhibition of Silvia Mariotti in which sublime notions of nature intertwine with historical thought.

Works that the artist has developed through fieldwork in the landscape itself, searching for caves that have been abandoned for decades and are known only to local people. Illustrious predecessors have attempted similar endeavours – in 1861, Felix Nadar was the first that took a camera into the underground of Paris, beating his colleagues in the initiative to take photographs in the sewerage and catacombs of a major metropolis. It was then that for the first time the lens was attributed with the ability to make discoveries and the art of photography was born – the photographic and sculptural project of Silvia Mariotti is just like the enterprise of Nadar – a sublime discovery.

In recent decades, the foibe have become a symbol of recent history of Italy and Istria. For the collective imagination, these caves, like Pandora’s box, seem to contain all the evils of the twentieth century. They have become the catalyst of ethnic hatred, of war crimes against the Italians and the local population, of experience of exile and of a great trauma of the nation that originated in the period between the two world wars. But these caves are also a natural phenomenon. The foibe do not tell only the history of Europe in the 20th century, but tell also a story of nature and geology spanning millennia and of a number of literary, psychological, theological, mythological and aesthetic suggestions.

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