CRITICAL REVIEW

Curated by Dr. Elena Gollini – Art curator, critic and journalist

Alessandro Bassani is a witty and clever observer of the world and of the surrounding context, he is an attentive inquirer, always ready to capture, to create indelible photos and to imprint them in scenic configurations. His production is a virtual and imaginary album to browse, a sequence of scenes that travel along the path of life and existential experiences in order to remember what he lived, loved or simply saw and from which he has been impressed, always remaining anchored to his memory. His photos are endowed with a powerful evocative force and they become the transposition of images and representations of the truth, of a dimension of reality which is filtered and personalized in the production by the memory and the subjective vision. They are studied in detail with a great technical design and construction expertise, which is the result of a deep-rooted expressive maturity that avoids the instinctual and irrational gesture. The snapshot is guided and supported by a conceptual action set upstream. The photograph becomes a mirror and a reflection of the image which reveals a glimpse of the world and a dimension of an evocative cross-section of the society inherent in the representations he proposes, reproduced and cleverly combined together, like the pieces of a calibrated “compositional mosaic” of effective and incisive substantial flow rate and high thickness content. In the fine-art photography, his mindset preserves the most hidden perceptions and it becomes a feeling and a propulsive momentum in the urgency of communicating and sharing with the observer an intensely engaged formula of social language which can act as a common thread, a connecting bridge and a driving force to exhort and push to understand the important messages and meanings, of which he is a committed supporter, spokesman and heartfelt popularizer. In the photos he imposes his one-of-a-kind identity. The chromatic pattern obtains its pronounced visual depth from the mixture and the alchemy of the confident and punctual combinations that mark and metaphorically draw the line of the emotional and interior component, which in turn reinforces its value within the choreography of the overall narration. The realistic figurative part compared to the surreal and unreal one emerge together and are strictly connected and linked to codes. This connection explains the reflection of the tension and of the emotional ardor of a urgent need projected and extended towards a stimulating growth and a human, spiritual, ethical and moral enrichment.

Alessandro can be considered a conceptual photographer and, at the same time, a social photographer of the community, who can feel every need and burden. Thanks to this “social mission and calling” his photographic art becomes the demonstration of his strong sensitivity and his natural inclination aimed to the most authentic honesty free from any convention or stereotype. His creations are also actions and gestures like a tam-tam to spread with an increasing progression. He speaks to a society that must be understood and loved, a reality of a “collective sea”, with the eyes of who can see and fully perceive what filters through the glimmer of an interior and spiritual light which can move, shake and trigger well-timed and decisive answers. Taking photographs is his job. His story is made up of love, passion, feeling, emotion and everyday life and it is also made by the story of a common man-artist who compares himself to other men through his creativity, in hopes of finding the right path of common release and renewal. A path to travel all together to move towards the rebirth and the individual and collective regeneration. Alessandro’s photography is a traditionalist and at the same time modern and always up-to-date photography which rediscovers and enhances the stylistic features of a timeless tradition of classical figurative genre and realist root. He suggestively combines them with the features and distinctive aspects of a modern vision of the world, of things and of the surrounding reality. He applies the measure of the portrait to the protagonists of the narrative construction; that means he introduces and inserts into the compositional dynamics of the proposed images the reflexive and at the same time inquisitive look typical of the portraitist who scrutinizes and studies with care a face, a posture, a gesture, a peculiar expression, to capture and understand the intimate essence, with a deep inner and psychological sounding, always going beyond the simple descriptive representation. By representing one of his artistic foundations, this guideline constitutes an interior measure characterizing his conception of the artistic photography and his way of designing and conceiving the author’s photo, which refers to a real existential philosophy. We can rough out a poetic of representation capable of contesting every usual “genre” point of view by transforming the image in a fascinating theatrical scenario, in a surprising stage where the curtain is virtually raised on the scene and everything seems to stop and crystallize by magic all around the captured images and the main subjects, which seem in a pause break, in an atmosphere of vibrant wait, ready in front of the artist to be represented. The set-up applies a measure of inner imprint that leads to a re-enacting, linear, refined, sober, organized, clear and complete communicative formula that never turns into useless and complicated structural inventiveness, but moves on the rich ground of the intensification of the afflatus, towards a warned and conscious heartfelt feeling, based on emotional impulses and emotional suggestions, going beyond what is immediately visible.

The expressive language is integrated and enriched by metaphors and messages of high depth which reinforce the substantial content of the narration and allow the viewer to look and think at the same time overcoming the pure aesthetic perception and developing wide-ranging perceptive and sensorial projections. It seems that Alessandro wants to explore the real vision, identifying a subtle inventive incipit which feeds its imaginary sphere. He offers to the objective reality and to the optical and retinal reality, some new effects which are the result of a personal and subjective elaborative reflection born from the heart, the movement of the soul and from a mental light as in a symbolic “game of mirrors” that becomes illusory, in the sense of the underlying metaphor and of the poetic outline dimension that acts as a frame for the figurative setting. Alessandro is not and does not want to be an illusionist of the artistic photography. He is not interested in creating “magic tricks” to amaze and surprise the observer. His poetry is an authentic poetry of feelings and it is not certainly a sentimental rhetoric. In their content meaning, his photographic compositions want to transmit and instill some vital vibrations and they are pervaded by a lot of energy and tension of creative impulse. The so-called fantastic component and his “illusionism” consist in reconstructing a knowable and usable order within the complex, tortuous and indistinct mechanism of the sense of seeing what surrounds us and recovering and rediscovering the meaning and the hub of an existential dimension, in front of the impassive and unknowable depth of things. Alessandro wants to build some visual poems as evocative as mysteriously enigmatic, which encourage to provide different interpretations from those immediately originated from the visible. He chooses the path of the fine-art photography and the approach to the “profession” with a coherent and conscious detachment from any constraint, remaining outside every forced outlines, but choosing the most spontaneous expressive freedom. His experimentation shows a stylistic physiognomy, meant as a dimension of research, that is both existential and expressive. For Alessandro, photography means combining in harmony shapes, elements and chromatic components letting them rise to the surface as fragments of mental images and sensations, which spring from the memories. The succession of memories is developed by the balanced agreements and relationships in a flow that is always fluid. Alessandro is detached from any strictly intellectualist conception and from the proper rationalistic definition of photography; he aims to capture his vision starting from a real fact which expands into the changing, multiform and boundless abilities of the image.

In approaching Alessandro’s photographic style, a parallel comparison with music arises. Through sounds, music makes us perceive emotions, miseries, passions, feelings, distant echoes of joy and suffering filtered by the emotional and sensorial sphere. In the same way his photography is not aimed at reproducing the world in a purely descriptive way, but rather to see it and to filter it with the pathos of the soul. Alessandro identifies shapes and images that arouse emotions and trigger sensations and perceptions that encourage the rediscovery and enhancement of that component of “humanitas” which is now partially forgotten or lost in conventional expressive styles. In his photos he lets his deepest part emerge in a set of memories, experiences and suggestions and he observes nature and the surrounding environment, which offer congenial reference points with shapes, perspectives and colors. He aims to recover and re-evaluate that universe of resources that lives in then art in a continuous dynamic movement and in a constant evolutionary fluctuation and he shares it with the viewer. In his artistic work he does not need to use complex and sophisticated tricks; he takes advantage of the multi-colored field of representations of the narrative availability, which can immediately capture the attention of the viewer, encouraging him or her to directly and interactively engage. Approaching his works is like embarking on a symbolic marvelous journey, which leads with imagination beyond the boundary of visible reality and projects into the fantastic dimension at the ends of the world of dreams, involving simultaneously the mind and the heart and transporting in a phase of intense inner reflection.

Alessandro handles the photographic instrument with embedded maturity, becoming its “ally and friend”. His photography becomes a captivating creative game supported by the chiaroscuro effects and the light/shadow combinations. He transforms what is real in an almost imperceptible vision of the world set between reality and imagination. His photos appear as some scenarios which open to the curious eye of the observer as if they were magic doors; they show memories which encourage and feed the fantasy of interpretation, leading the viewer to ask questions and provide answers of pertinent relevance. In order to fully understand and experience Alessandro’s photographic art, we must stand in front of his creations letting ourselves be carried away by the magic of the suggestions released by his photos, which go beyond the bounded space of the surface with a perspective of plastic dynamism. We can find elements and components mixed and twisted together which generate an alchemical representative formula, which possesses in itself a vital impulse of vibrant energy. Inside the author’s snapshots, everyone can find the answer to their existential questions, as in a precious treasure chest full of pure emotions and sensations. Alessandro instills a sort of animated screen of his life in each picture, in an exciting unraveling of meaning and questions of stories that born and evolve within the same vision, leaving the observer positively surprised and charmed. Each creation has its own particular story, its own unique identifying peculiarity which is never the same, but always in transformation depending on the observer’s point of view. Photography is conceived as a full and total awakening of the senses, as a unique and unparalleled experience, as an encounter with art in its highest essence. The artist considers photography as a path of personal and spiritual growth by which we can establish human relationships and start a sharing of introspective exchange. For Alessandro, photographic art symbolizes life and vital energy, as it is a symbol of immortality in the cycle of existence, birth, death and rebirth. Part of his life is contained in the circuit of compositional scenarios, which favor the figurative matrix. There are footprints of his experience rising to the surface. If we look at them listening to the “breath of life” they tell us the story of this man-artist absorbed in a passionate enthusiasm, a visceral and heartfelt dedication to the fine-art photographic of which he becomes a convinced and deserving spokesman, placing himself in an all-round perspective conceived in a modern, innovative and updated key.

“The desire to discover, the desire to excite, the taste to capture, three concepts that summarize the art of photography”. (Helmut Newton)