exhibition | Andrea Ferrari

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Wild Window

curated by Walter Guadagnini

The images of the Wild Window project, some of which were shot in the Lazzaro Spallanzani Gallery in Reggio Emilia, focus on the idea of the harmony and complexity of the natural world and its secret language.
The conceptual cornerstone of the project is the idea of the gaze as a universal trait of the human and the animal language.

Through the interplay of gazes projected by the images in Wild Window, the ambiguous relationship between the observer and the observed becomes unstable: looking at the plethora of black beady eyes peering at us, we no longer feel so confident about being the observers and, in a reversal of roles, sense that we ourselves are in turn being observed.
The perceptive focus of the research relies on the component of colour to make the viewer feel a sense of suspension and disorientation.
This use of pale pink or ‘flesh tone’ is not purely to do with aesthetic and formal considerations but with a precise psychological association with skin colour. In this respect, the use of colour itself is an enigmatic medium of perception in the form of a visual unconscious. Although the association with the colour tone of our own skin may seem unimportant, it is precisely what makes these abstract images so alive and replete with implications.

The theme of secret language is also reflected in the installation design of Wild Window. The images are in fact not displayed in the linear, orderly pattern of catalogue records, according to the idea of knowledge typical of the scientific encyclopaedia where “creatures present themselves one beside another” (1). On the contrary, the layout of the images follows an irregular grid plan as a way of conveying the complexity of the fabric of nature and its “obscure similitudes” (2), and arousing the wonder of those who observe it.
The exhibit is accompanied by an artist’s photo-book with a graphic design reminiscent of the naturalist’s notebook, reflecting the fact that the artist draws inspiration from that particular world. The book, published in 50 copies, contains a text by Ermanno Cavazzoni (an extract from Guida agli animali fantastici – Guide to fantastical animals) and a critical essay by Laura Gasparini

(1)            Michel Foucault, The Order of Things (Original title: Les Mots et les Choses), Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005 p. 143
(2)            Ibid., p. 146

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BIOGRAPHY

Andrea Ferrari was born in Milan where he graduated in Philosophy and attended the Brera Academy while studying as a self-taught scholar of photography and contemporary art.
The recurrent themes of his investigations are photography as a reflective practice of a system of signs, the relationship between written text, image and object, and the relationship between photography and science. A natural propensity “to remove” gives him a distinctive expressive approach in which the theme of language as a sign merges with observation of nature.
In 2013, the London gallery Michael Hoppen Contemporary presented a selection of images from Wild Window at Paris Photo; the series is dedicated to the secret language of nature and inspired by early natural history display cabinets.

The images are accompanied by an artist’s book with a text by Ermanno Cavazzoni and a critical essay by Laura Gasparini.
In November 2013, Kerher Verlag published The pictures included in this envelope, with critical texts by Quentin Bajac and Laura Gasparini. The book, previously shortlisted for the European Publisher Award and later for the Kassel Dummy Award, is a visual investigation of a series of objects, photographs and memorabilia discovered in the house of an unknown Milanese pharmacist.
Through the collection and the biographical notes on Giulia C., the enigmatic figure at the origin of the work, Ferrari considers the subject of the visual alphabet.

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