The infinite present. What a dingy contradiction, what a publicity stunt. How can an infinite be present, how is it possible that what is not yet, but will be, at the same time is, now, here? It can because art can. «Art is the triumph over chaos» John Cheever.
It’s six in the afternoon and the sun is still high. Endless meadows pass quickly by, with a few trees and many different greens. A distant farmhouse, swallows in flight, high-voltage power lines, buildings, industrial architecture. Meanwhile, I try to capture the soul of Iacopo Pasqui’s photographs, to arrive at their hidden meaning. Images bounce around me, overwhelm me. There is the sea, a woman with many springs on her, a hammer and sickle on a red costume, a pendant with dedication, tattoos, kisses, ice creams, geckos, bowling balls, uprooted and lonely trees, clouds, rocks, roots, curlers, asses, ancient motorcycles, plastic chairs, flowers for the dead, old and children, contemporary horizons. The sacred that mixes with the profane in this sad, terrible and splendid game what we call life. The details of existence, the dull, overflowing details of meaning, because it’s the eye of the beholder that gives meaning to things. All that we see but that we cannot grasp, all that we look at without looking more carefully. There are places that can be private and intimate, like an unmade bed with a neutral background wall and the light that caresses it consciously in front of a candid object like a candy, delicate as ceramic. There is a particular way of relating to reality, of borrowing only fragments, such as the glimpse of a wall between a meadow and the sky, like a red red carnation on a wooden table, like the crack in a glass: web of ice. All the elements of our daily lives and his pains inhabit Pasqui’s photographs. Places captured in their solitude, resting areas, empty like the squares of De Chirico, and people on the beaches or in the snow – a tribute perhaps to the land that hosts it: Abruzzo, between the Apennines and the Adriatic sea – in crystallized motions, as in the paintings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a diver in a water that recalls chromatically that of Hockney.
We asked Pasqui something and he answered.
– I’m reading John Cheever’s journals, you have no idea how many times the word light comes into those private stories, but one thing that I find interesting in your photographs more than light is temporality. It’s not the restless time that Julian Barnes writes about, but a blocked time, the one in photography, and at the same time the perception of a parallel reality, out of that time, that of the world, which continues undaunted. What do you think about it?
P: For me, photography is something magical, an escape, the construction of a parallel world, of a reality that exists at least in my imagination and where the time does not matter. It is the reality “of the infinite present” and this is one of the axioms that moves my work and my research. The photography is an island, I cannot say “happy” because it is not always so but it is my escape, it is the “place” of departure, it is the place of return, of memory, it is the place of the unconscious but it is also the place of mystery, simplicity and lightness. It encompasses so many aspects and reflects a lot of myself, which is why it is a symbiotic language with my thinking. The light is the real matter in its immateriality, it becomes perception and is the fundamental key to opening the door of knowledge. The light is revealing, it shapes and helps to give a different reading to what we have around us.
– When did your story begin as a photographer and how did it start?
P: It starts in effect in 2008. In 2004 I had the first contact with a camera of my father, I took photographs on the street and at friends’ birthdays. It was not a passion, never was it. It was more a mental attraction and I liked it a lot. I thought about it constantly. In 2007, with the first salary of a summer job, I bought a digital camera. There was not much feeling but it was useful and comfortable. After that season I took a breath and courage; so I decided, out of the blue, to leave and start taking pictures, mostly to “know the world”, at first the distant one, extremely distant from mine. After several periods of pilgrimages between the east, west and south of the world, I returned home and decided that the time had come to start learning about my world, and I threw myself away. I realized I had to jump on this big and mysterious magic box and that it would become my life. In reality it was not a choice but a sort of vocation; I don’t know, I felt it and it was enough for me. While I sold the digital camera and bought an analog one, there was a lot of feeling.
– Who are your teachers?
P: Massimiliano Camplone, Paolo Dell’Elce, Attilio Gavini: for me they have been and still are fundamental people, as well as teachers of life.
– How much of you in your photo projects?
P: Everything. There is me, my life, my intimacy, my fears, my dreams, my ambitions. They always start from strong motivations and inner questions for which it’s inevitable that there is mine. I like to think that we are what we photograph, photographing is a gesture of love for life, all of it, and therefore it goes without saying that it is an act, that self-made with a certain awareness can only contain ourselves. There should be all our experiences. It is so beautiful to photograph, to reveal the hidden and unknown part of things. There is too much beauty around us but life most of the time makes us blind and photographers should also use this to help re-discover it.
– What is the relationship between the titles you give to your projects and their content? How much do words affect the image? I think of “C’è un agave gigante in via Sicilia” and in “N” among others.
P: They are titles that have a lot to do with content but even more with what is behind the projects, I try to never choose exhaustive titles as it is very difficult – if not impossible – for a job to answer the questions for which is born. “N”, for example, is the initial of so many sensations, moods, and adjectives that I felt while conceiving the work. “N” is also nothing, it’s noir, novelty, normality.
– What is the photographic project you care about most and why?
P: There is no job that I care about the most, it would be like asking a parent which child he cares most about. I can tell you which one I feel closer to me right now and there are two of them, the first is “N”, the other is “Les Plaisirs et Las Jours” but the title is still provisional – it may be too comprehensive and it is also stolen from Proust. It is more a question of closeness linked to those questions and aspects of life that interest me most at this moment.
– Your last job in detail, if you’d like to talk about it.
P: Very briefly, “N” is a work that tells the ambiguity of an Italian province and the link between it and the generation of thirty-year-olds, a part of thirty-year-olds. I wanted to tell about my condition of unease towards the place where I live, environments not very distant from most of the provincial cities present in our country and I chose to do it through a generational confrontation with a part of my peers who too often lives in the same condition.
– A book, a song, a film, a poem.
P: “Grammatica della Fantasia”, by Gianni Rodari, is a magical book that goes into the mechanisms of imagination, I find it to be a truly fundamental volume for those dealing with thought and the creation of stories, both visual and literary. “Unfinished Sympathy” by Massive Attack, “Der Himmel über Berlin” by Wim Wenders and as a poem I choose “A lesson from Kamasutra”, by Mahmoud Darwish.
Iacopo Pasqui, born in 1984, is a young photographer who is widely affirming himself on the international scene. Florentine stationed in Abruzzo, in Pescara. His photographs have appeared on Artribune, L’Espresso, Vice and The Smart View, his work has been exhibited in 1999 at MAXXI in Rome, in 2017 in Bologna on the occasion of Set Up+, at the Salonnico Photography Festival and at the Biscuit Building of London, in 2014 was selected among the 19 artists of the Off Site Art project, organized by ArtBridge in L’Aquila. He participated in a masterclass with Anna-Kasia Rastenberger and Federico Clavarino at the Fotofestiwal Lodz / Parallel. He received the Leica Talent Italia Award in 2011 and the San Fedele Visual Arts Jury Prize in 2016. He is the Young Italian Photography winner of Reggio Emilia, 2019 edition.