Rä di Martino

The relationship of the contemporary individual with mass culture

By La Galleria Nazionale

The Portrait Of Ourselves (2013) by Rä di MartinoLa Galleria Nazionale

I have two ways of working, or rather to have new ideas. A more thoughtful, more theoretical one in which I think about a theme or a situation or a place; it is a long time of research on which I work to develop ideas for possible works. Other times, however, I simply have an image in my mind, or a cue for an image. If this mental image stays with me for a long time, I begin to wonder if it is worth following it.</>

I imagined this little girl hanging upside down for almost three years before deciding to do something. At first I imagined her hanging from the branch of a tree. Then it became a two-person relationship, with a person holding her.

Rä di Martino

The Portrait Of Ourselves (2013) by Rä di MartinoLa Galleria Nazionale

Rä di Martino
(Rome, 1975)

Through her production of photographs and videos, Rä di Martino investigates the relationship of the contemporary individual with mass culture, fictions and advertising, spread by the media. Her stories reveal the mechanisms of the manipulative power of cinema and television over our unconscious and our way of interpreting the world.

The artist uses the cinema as an immense container of suggestions, from which to draw to create new images, both by playing on the remains of the sets and on the fragments of dialogue, as well as on the tools built by the lighting technicians, and on all meta-filmic devices on which she happened to focus attention.

The Portrait Of Ourselves (2013) by Rä di MartinoLa Galleria Nazionale

In the 2014 video The Picture of Ourselves, the camera focuses on the smiling face of a girl in the foreground, shot upside down while a man is holding her by the ankles. Rä di Martino’s art is also a space open to memories, recollection, irony and play and therefore, as in this case, to the overturning of perspective and the subversion of rules.

“The little girl from The Picture of Ourselves stands upside down, yet her gaze is calm. At a certain point, a very recognizable Italian song – “Sei bellissima” sung by Loredana Bertè – echoes in the background. And another “beautiful” comes to mind, this time with the scent of cinema: the 1951 film by Luchino Visconti, with an Anna Magnani in black and white.

The Portrait Of Ourselves (2013) by Rä di MartinoLa Galleria Nazionale

Images of an Italian tradition and history that mix and re-emerge. Upside down, yet with a calm face, like the figure of the hanged man, the twelfth card of the tarot major arcana. Although it refers to the traitor, the figure hints also at an attitude and a perspective that in cartomancy is associated with the ability to transcend conventions and observe the world from a more spiritual point of view.

Another point of view, another world, the other world. Even in depicting the world of the dead, the human figure is upside down. An upside-down world, though reflecting the real.”

The Portrait Of Ourselves (2013) by Rä di MartinoLa Galleria Nazionale

The relationship between these two people is not explained, so it leaves the interpretation open to multiple meanings, because it could be a family picture, or it could be two people who don't know each other.

The strength of this black and white video, edited with alternating close-ups, lies precisely in the unspoken, as well as in a dialogue without words that is established thanks to the gaze of the two protagonists, witnesses of a narrative open to various possibilities.”

Paola Ugolini

Credits: Story

Rä di Martino and Paola Ugolini
Works cited:
Frida Carazzato, A testa in Giù, in the catalogue Vitrine-Possibilità, GAM -Turin, February 10 – April 16, 2015, exhibiting project by Anna Musini (Rä di Martino, Francesco Gennari, Francesco Barocco, Anna Franceschini, Luca Trevisani), published by Nero, Rome 2015

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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