The dazzling vision of the mysterious and infinite darkness lurking from behind the curtains of appearances of what we call “real”.
With his photography, Italian photographer Luca Baioni creates a bridge by a dimension that metaphorically locates among a lucid dream and hazy wakefulness.
Standing in front of the horizon of perception, the visions of the artist and the viewer’s experience mold into one mystery. A mirror in which “subjective” contents mix up with “objective” ones till dissolving the confess of his own insecurity. The author, Luca Baioni, makes a deep reflection about life and death in an era where the use of images, both commercial or with documentary intent, is more than ever in an everlasting delivery loop of their reception.
COR: How did you get your start making photography?
Luca B.: Remembering how it all started is like re-opening a black bag, exhumed from the soil in a wood. The wait, the final maceration of memories, all of this has come to gilding which has morphed them into something that gives me a harmonious sensation of joy.
I must have been 16 or 17, I don’t remember exactly, and I was attending an Art School, one of the best I could have ever imagined going to. A young professor was crucial in the process of expanding my mind and my vision and we eventually became good friends. Everything always starts out as a sort of “magic” mysterious thing, by playing around, without limitations but always by trying to keep track of those very few essential rules that someone has placed in your hands. And then soon everything becomes an obsession, an inner need, a will to confront one very self with the specific means or tools that are being used.
COR: How would you describe your creative process?
Luca B.: I often find myself in an open, ongoing dialogue with the “dark side” of me, who lives on the other side of the mirror. After all these years, mostly dedicated to the process of finding new ways of deconstructing things, I still can’t recognize the process that guides me with absolute certainty. The point it is no longer about the acceptance or the recognition of a particular form of process or path. It’s all about, I think, the need to let loose of all the sensations that hide in the black spots of my life, to let them open up and breathe and talk. Different series, pictures, sounds – they’re all a product of this chaos.
I feel like I’m constantly spoken and visited by them, rather than the opposite; they’re like cosmic waves that travel through millennia back and forth, and when they return and pass through us they modify and mold our existence. The intensity of this phenomenon, when it unleashes itself, is simply unspeakable.
Every day I get stuck by how much of this magic is there in any and every creative act; I simply cannot stop it for a second, capture it and dissect it. The only thing I can do is to lay myself down in this listening position and listen to the echoes of the universe mauling me.
COR: Do you work with analog and digital tools as well? How much post-production do you apply to get the final result on your works?
Luca B.: I work without restrictions with both of them, analog and digital. I always want to have the two of them to interact rather freely, without imposing myself from the start any limitation or any pre-set boundary that has to reach some goal.
When the creative process begins I simply feel like one particular tool is always reaching out to me more than another one. There’s no plan. Surely everything of what is being “violated” (meaning post-production after the shoot) goes through a tool that allows me to apply modifications, to “paint” on it and ultimately to destroy for the better what could have been previously conceived as the “source”: a shoot, a film, a digital file and so on. I don’t follow traditional post-production techniques, I mostly use those softwares as if they were “musical instruments”, I go with the flow. I’ve been “playing” them for such a long time that now when I attack an image, I act like it’s natural, I can’t even define what I’m really doing. But I always do it with a darkroom-like mind-set and feeling.
COR: “Photographers, just like artists, need to unveil themselves first in order to expose the silence of the world. Those who just want to report things won’t move things. Only whose destroying them would obtain new shapes, new ideas and new inputs”
What is your take on this quote?
Luca B.: I definitely don’t care about sticking to a specific tag, nonetheless I feel the urge to call myself more an “artist” than simply a photographer. Up until now I mostly used photography because it suited me best to do what I wanted to do, which is to dig deep into the silence that inhabits the world. I think I managed to unveil myself quite a bit through this process, anyhow understanding nothing.
When you allow yourself to fall deep into the depths of it all, into complete oblivion, everything suddenly and mysteriously turns clear. But it still remains uncertain. To sail into this desert of oblivion it becomes a magnificent form of masturbation. The more you go into the deep the more you learn to basically accept everything that stands around, beside and beyond yourself: it becomes a sympathetic cry full of sperm and blood. Death and life, and so on.
COR: Would you elaborate on how this attitude is expressed through this statement shows in your art?
Luca B.: There’s this statement that sums it up: “Dick Laurent is dead”. It comes from David Lynch’s movie “Lost Highways”. It would take too long to fully elaborate its sense, but if you watch the movie yourself maybe you’ll find out.
Let’s say that all I can think of, as far as searching and expressing goes, it’s the depiction of the complete ecstatic state of bliss I’m in when I’m creating. Everything appears confused then as if it was a feverish state in which I can’t really control anything. When I’m there, I’m always trying to break through, to create an open door, a sort of passage, whose sense and the aim is the never-ending quest for questions, not answers. By physically expelling a new opus you put any potential observer of your work in a position in which he could feel the urge to search for his own questions, to lighten up his own existential burden, if he wants to.
I believe that to dig up, to find something inside ourselves is likewise finding the very universe outside ourselves. Everywhere I’d go, being the darkness of my mind or the yellow of the soil-marrow, invisible hidden things always show up and they always ask to be unveiled, which means to a certain extent to be made visible. That is what I do. I chase ghosts bringing forth gold which is to be delivered to the people, the “seemingly not seeing”, tired, mute people with glassy eyes who stand there, often bored and restlessly gnawing on the spine of their own satisfaction.
COR: Are you inspired by other photographers, movies, or other forms of arts, artists?
Luca B.: I’ve been inspired by many many things in the past, as everyone always is, and I believe I’ll always be inspired by other things. Right now the most strong and inspiring thing for me and for my art is life itself. Real-life. The possibility alone that I can actually communicate with other persons that find themselves in the same obscure cave that I’m in is astonishing. The power of empathy. The beauty of the sight of life and death chasing one another and continuously reoccurring, to know that life can regenerate itself from death. Feminine bodies and alcohol also do that.
COR: If you had to summarize your artistic vision in one sentence, what would it be?
Luca B.: “Refuse and resist”.