New book features an homage to Italy and its people, inspired by a personal life story

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, April 13, 2024

New book features an homage to Italy and its people, inspired by a personal life story
Suzanne © Sonia Lenzi.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sonia Lenzi is an Italian photographer and visual artist,who lives and works in Bologna and London. Her artistic practice adopts an interdisciplinary approach and revolves around interrelated themes, concerning identity, memories of people and places, mortality and gender. For herlatest project, Lenzi photographed in the homes of elderly people in Italy.They serve as parentalfigures, who have certain cultural, political and moral values to share. Her attempt to preserve these values for future generations, results into a kind of social family album where places, objects,images and texts related to these people are communicating on their behalf.

From the essay by Roberta Valtorta:

‘My father was a politically committed magistrate, who passed on many positive values to me, even though he did not want to take me to live with him’ writes Sonia Lenzi. ‘Over time I realized thatI was alwayslooking for a father and another house in which to live, where you could breathe that atmosphere that I thought I had lost. For these reasons, after his death, I asked some people I felt close to, to take me to live with them.’ These are important statements that we find at the end of a complex yet clear photographic work, a work structured in well-controlled melancholic narrative segments, which intertwines images, reproductions of documents, texts and handwritten sentences. A pressing need to look forsomething and also something to say can be found in the construction of the project itself,supported by instinct and at the same time by a reasoned decision. (...)

Exactly like her father’s life, the lives of all the people that Sonia Lenzi went to visit in their intimate surroundings, on whose door she knocked to enter, to listen and to collect moments of life and thoughts of coherence and determination, whose rooms she observed and photographed, belong to very important cultural events that today are history. They are all cultural personalities whose existential and social path,even institutional one,has been nourished by a decisive civil commitment, by a constant and sensitive search for democracy, equality, justice, dignity, rejection of fascism – those values that are recounted here while they are still alive.We would like the example of these figures chosen by Sonia Lenzi (and otherslike them) to strengthen our present – a present so subject to violent change and so oblivious to history – and to give the future a chance to unfold positively, but we know that a veil of opaque uncertainty lies over this possibility, over this desire.

The solitary gaze of the photographer, together with her own body, wanders through the domestic spaces and investigates above all the objects that – we very well know – are volitional presences,that have a voice,and thatspeak about us.If we observe them carefully they always express a feeling of absence.They are there, in their alloted places, representing the person and telling us about her or him.

»I’ve always loved visiting the homes of others, not so much to see how people lived their daily lives, but in order to try and understand them better, and [...] becoming part of their lives.«

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