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The abstract substance in Erica Bardi's photographs


BORN IN NAPLES, SHE MOVED TO MILAN IN 2018, WHERE SHE STUDIED PAINTING AT THE BRERA ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS AND PHOTOGRAPHY AND VISUAL COMMUNICATION LANGUAGES AT CFP BAUER. HER INTEREST IN PHOTOGRAPHY EVOLVES THROUGHOUT HER STUDIES, RECONCILING HER RESEARCH WITH A MATERIAL ANF EDITORIAL DIMENSION. IN 2021 SHE TOOK PART IN A COLLECTIVE EXHIBITION PROMOTED BY CENTRALE FESTIVAL AND IN 2023 SHE EXHIBITED AT STILL PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY IN MILAN AND THE SHORT OUT FESTIVAL IN LAINATE. IN THE SAME YEAR SHE’S INCLUDED AMONG WINNERS OF THE LIQUIDA GRANT, EXHIBITING AT THE CAVALLERIZZA REALE IN TURIN AND IN THE CARE OF SPACE, INSIDE THE FABBRICA DEL VAPORE IN MILAN. SHE’S CURRENTLY ATTENDING THE MASTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE BRERA ACADEMY OF FINE ARTS




How did the passion for photography begin?


When I was a child, my aunt and my uncle gave me my first camera. I started shooting until I was thirteen and then stopped and prefer drawing. Since then, I haven’t taken pictures and I started again only during the beginning of my first academic year in Naples.



While your early work dealt with themes related to the body, over time there has been an increasingly broader and more personal evolution, which seems to focus on the conceptual and the geometric. How did it happen?


Trivially, I always feel the need to want to experiment. The reason that pushed me initially to deal with the subject of the body started for several reasons: my uncles were also photographers and were specialized in the art of portraiture. To this we add the input conveyed by the authors that maybe I used to see on Instagram and consequently copied. When I started studying photography and going to exhibitions, I widened my interests a bit.






What are you currently working on?


I recently closed down a photography work on comets and space, in the sense that I finished shooting it, because I had started it for a particular reason at a particular time. When that moment passed, I realized there was no point in continuing it, so now I’m trying to make a self-published book on it. Me and other guys recently were also winners of the Liquida Photofestival, in my case with a work related to the theme of sexuality. The exhibition took place inside the Cavallerizza Reale in Turin and then in Milan, in the Care Of space, which is a beautiful non-profit reality inside the Fabbrica del Vapore, very “industrial,” if we can call it like that.



What does it mean to you to have a style in your job? Is it something that you search for first or maybe is it something that comes naturally to you? How important is it for you to find a way that allows you to stand out from the others?


Maybe by style it means the way you look at that object and not how you do it. If you claim a style to follow, it’s obvious that you risk limiting yourself. Now, for example, I have a thing about the space but if one day someone came to me offering a job that for several reasons doesn’t fit with my personal interests, at the beginning I would feel like a fish out of the water but I would do it anyway because I know that regardless something will remain of that experience and I would be able to give my imprint to something different from what I usually do. As a result, I always need an external input in order to get out of my bubble. I don’t like when an artist is predictable and does nothing to reinvent him/herself or give something fresh to his/her work.





The reason I ask you this question is that in the moment you establish yourself as an author, changing or experimenting becomes increasingly difficult.


Look, in my case I feel lucky because I’m not that famous yet (laughs) so at the end of the day I’m still free to do what I want: I’m not an author and therefore I don’t work for some curator who expects a certain kind of stuff from me. I certainly miss the financial freedom, but not the experimental freedom. The moment I still have that possibility, I take advantage of it to experiment, change genres and themes: the things I was doing last year are quite different from the things I do currently, and, in all honesty, I prefer what I’m doing now. So, who knows…



During our interview you touched on an important topic, which is that of social media. How does it change and what is the difference between the way you approach these tools and the way perhaps you relate to a gallery owner and his audience?


It depends a lot on how you are using social: you can make it a virtual gallery or maybe advertise yourself. I obviously use it for the second reason. From that point of view, they are very useful. There are works designed specifically for Instagram, just think of Francesco Vezzoli, who with Love Stories “appropriates” the survey of stories and the Instagram account of Prada Foundation and turns them into works. However, depends on the outfit you give to your profile: if you claim to display your works with the same rendering as you would show them live you are wrong, it would be like saying that the image of any painting on some art history book had the same yield as that painting seen live.



Is there any young photographer you would like to recommend?


I would start with Gabriele Barbagallo, with whom I collaborate and whom I’ve recently known at Brera, and I would also add Francesca Macis: I would especially mention the work Il giorno in cui si spense il sole which she exhibited with me at the Liquida Festival and the Care of.







By FRANCESCO SARCINELLA

3 June 2024

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