DARK PORTRAITS – ROME 1982-1985
curated by Matteo Di Castro and Paola Paleari
Pomo Galerie, Milan
June 19 – July 17, 2014
Click here to read my critical text on Dino Ignani’s Dark Portraits [Italian only]
Dark Portraits. Rome 1982–1985 is a show born from the collaboration between s.t. foto libreria galleria (Rome) and POMO Galerie (Milan). The exhibition traces the research carried out by the Roman photographer Dino Ignani during the ’80s on young people who livened up the new night life of the capital and, in particular, venues and appointments linked to the Dark universe.
In Italy, the term “dark” identifies a style coming from several music and fashion trends of the 80’s: from post-punk to new romantic and gothic. In video-bar, discotheques and other venues which hosted “dark” nights (Olimpo, Supersonic, Angelo Azzurro, Blue Bar, X-Club, Venice, Black Out, Uonna Club, Piper, Cinema Espero), Ignani used to invite all participants to be portrayed, in front of an “ad hoc” photographic set: tripod, umbrella, 1000 watt light and a neutral background. The shooting consists of one shot for each subject, but some habitué might have been shot several times.
Behind a standardized and apparently detached representation of that world it’s hidden the photographer need of getting the specific individuality and creative connection of those new life styles. Ignani dedicated himself to record and elevate minimum details and distinctive signs of the Dark community: make-up, accessories and haircuts are the great protagonists of these images and elements which will be absorbed in fashion world as typically happens with avant-gardes.
Even if he used also color film, Ignani chose to use black and white to give a complete shape to his project. The result is a corpus made of about five-hundred images, some of which have been published on Rockstar and other magazines coming from the music press and exhibited for the first time in 1986. Roberto D’Agostino, presenting them, wrote: “Dino Ingani portraits materialize a restless research on immediate identity, seduction and communication. Those faces stare at us and say: See! I’ve got an image therefore I exist.”
In occasion of the exhibition, the new book DARK PORTRAITS. ROME 1982–1985 is presented. A 560 pages volume published by Yard Press, which tries to value not only the original serial vocation of Ignani’s work, but also to offer a new interpretation under the light of a contemporary editorial project. A text written by Roberto D’Agostino back in 1986 is the only text published in the book.
Dino Ignani was born and lives in Rome. He started working as a photographer during mid-70’s, preferring serialized projects, often developed during several years. Among those, the series dedicated to Italian poets, Intimi ritratti, presented in 1987 by Enzo Siciliano and Diego Mormorio, has become part of the collection of the Contemporary Photography Museum of Cinisello Balsamo.
s.t. foto libreria galleria is a space directed by Matteo di Castro based in Rome from 2007. The research dedicated to contemporary photography is always link with an in-depth study of past archives, with an attention to orphan images.
Pomo Galerie is a space dedicated to photography and any expression of contemporary aesthetic. Born in December 2013 as a space for dialogue, it’s the public expression of Pomo studio, innovative research design and communication consultancy for cultural and commercial clients.