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Raffaela Mariniello in Madrid with “La deriva del paesaggio”

The Italian Cultural Institute in Madrid presents the first personal exhibition by the artist Raffaela Mariniello in Spain as part of the ARCO International Contemporary Art Fair.

“La deriva del paesaggio” is a retrospective exhibition by the Neapolitan artist and photographerand includes a rich sampling of her varied photographic and light box work.This dynamic, diachronic excursion through her work during the last 20 years is part of an international debate on the development of the urban landscape.The work from the 1990s features highly evocative black and white photographs as she investigated suburbs and industrial parks, especially Naples where she concentrated on the famous steelworks at Bagnoli. She also captured similarities and differences along the shores of the Mediterranean (Beirut, Tunis, Naples), fixing her gaze on these marginal, interstitial places, and their “contemporary ruins”.At the beginning of the millennium, she moved from black and white photography to the ironic, intriguing use of colour in her Souvenirs d’Italie project. She changed her focus to urban centres, especially the most representative cities of Italy that were once obligatory destinations in the Grand Tour, but have now become quick stops in an omnivorous tourism that seldom ventures beyond substitute culture as a commodity.The artist concentrates her disenchanted gaze on the alienating elements that border on kitsch inhabiting squares of historic centres and that have become icons of mass tourism with their superficially festive appearances. The effect is emphasised with garish colours and dynamic shots.The sarcasm running as a common thread through this trip through time and civilisation reaches an apex in the shots taken at the Italia in miniatura theme park in Romagna.Reflections on mass tourism and the changes wrought by this modern phenomenon on the landscape also form the subject matter of her recent Capri Teorema project. Here, the artist gives us a Capri devoid of veneer and glamour as she visits some of the most secret areas of the island where tourists seldom venture. As always with her work, they are areas where humans are just passing though, but we can see their traces, for better or worse.The island becomes the subject matter of a story told by the light of the moon as it traces the change of seasons. Between surreal landscapes and abandoned paths, the incredible “spontaneous installation” still life images emerge, captured along the sea-shore and countryside trails, micro forays into a reality that seems to betray the mythical appearance of Capri, the land of dreams beloved to so many visitors.Raffaela Mariniello (Naples 1962) is one of Italy’s best-known photographers. In 1991, she began a project which is still the only historical record of the activities at the steelworks, Bagnoli, una fabbrica [factory]. The project has been shown in Naples, Nantes, Calais, Paris and Milan. The Souvenirs d’Italie series, focusing on the historical centres of Italian cities shows the transformation of places preyed on by mass tourism, was exhibited in Villa Pignatelli Casa della Fotografia in 2011.In 2014, she produced a project on the terrible fire at the Città della Scienza [city of science] with a poetic and silent account called Still in Life. Her work is in public and private collections, including: Bibliothèque National de Paris; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Banca Commerciale di Milan; Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin; Fond National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Museo Madre, Metropolitana di Naples; Maxxi di Roma; Collezione Cotroneo. She works with the Studio Trisorio gallery in Naples.Her catalogue was produced by the Madrid Italian Cultural Institute, in Italian and Spanish, and includes essays by critics Achille Bonito Oliva and Adriana Rispoli. The exhibition was organised by the Italian Cultural Institute of Madrid with the Studio Trisorio Gallery.