Mimmo Jodice at Villa Bardini

Mimmo Jodice at Villa Bardini

Photographs by the Neapolitan master are on display until July 14, with an homage to Michelangelo.

Tue 23 Apr 2024 2:03 PM

A room with unrecognizably silent and empty cities: Venice without people, the streets of Boston without cars. An unsettling absence that feels halted and restless, perhaps leaving space for a flickering thought on the usual madness that occupies these spaces. The photographs by Mimmo Jodice on display at Villa Bardini until July 14 are sometimes deliberately distorted, burned and torn, and other times carefully crafted coastal postcards, or indeed actual correspondence itself, playing with the medium by placing packets of paper behind a frame, the only intervention being the addition of his signature, or even popping his identity card and an official letter into the display, disrupting conventional rules.

Head of Apollo, Baia, 1993 Mimmo Jodice
Head of Apollo, Baia, 1993 Mimmo Jodice

The 90-year-old Neapolitan photographer, Domenico “Mimmo” Jodice, includes an homage to Michelangelo on the occasion of the exhibition titled Senza Tempo, curated by Roberto Koch, with the maestro’s sculptures framed in a mesmerizing new light, revisiting works such as the Madonna of the Pitti Tondo and the Bandini Pietà with his refined eye that portrays the power yet fragility of some of Michelangelo’s most poignant pieces, all fed by his personal emotion as the southern Italian artist engages with the works.

A film by Mario Martone gives unique insight, starting and finishing with the photographer looking out to sea, a place that has a strong influence on the artist, “where reality and dreams come together”. We learn that music plays a fundamental role in Jodice’s creative process while in the darkroom, “I’d move my hand across the photograph to play with the light, following the music I was listening to”. The poetic sensitivity that informs his process is articulated in his personal comments that accompany each of the themes portrayed, telling us on the topic of his Naples series that “These photographs capture the discomfort I feel in relation to the things I see and hear. This is how I live, accompanied by a strong restlessness that I transform into images”.

Almost all of his photographs are in black and white, immersing you in this sort of liminal space where colour ceases to exist for the time of your visit. Then you emerge from the villa into the Bardini Gardens, breathing in the intoxicating scents before heading back down the hill (tip: use the new free shuttle service that brings you to and from Villa Bardini), seeing light and shadows with renewed intensity and looking out at the horizon, recalling the artist’s words, “The horizon is the journey, going beyond, looking ahead”.

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