In 1969 the photo taken from the space shuttle on its way to the moon is published in all newspapers ; this was the first photographs of the world. The picture pursued for centuries by man presented to our eyes, containing contemporarily all the preceding images, incomplete, all books written, all signs deciphered and not. It was not only the picture of the world, but the picture which contained all the pictures of the world : graffiti, frescoes, prints, paintings, writings, photographs, books, films. Simultaneously the representation of the world in one time only.
On the other hand this total view, this redescription of everything, destroyed one more the possibility of translating the hieroglyphic whole. The power of containing everything vanished in front of the impossibility of seeing evetything at the same time. The event and its representation, to see and to be contained, reappeared to man as not sufficient to solve eternal questions. This possibility of total duplication, however, let us glimpse the possibility of deciphering the hieroglyph; we had the two poles of doubt and of the secular mystery, the picture of the atom and the picture of the world, finally in front of the other. The space between the infinitely small and the infinitely big was filled by the infinitely complex problem : man and his life, nature. The need for information or consciousness thus arises between two extreme points, oscillating from the microscope to the telescope in order to be able to translate and interpret reality or the hieroglyph.
My work rises from the necessity and the desire to interpret and translate the sign and meaning of this sum of hieroglyphs. So, not only a reality which is easily identifiable or highly loaded with symbols, but also thought, imagination, the fantastic and strange meanings.The photograph is extremely important for the aim I have set myself because of certain characteristic features of its language, which I shall try to explain.The cancellation of the space surrounding the framed part is for me as important as the represented part; it is because of this cancellation that the picture assumes a meaning and gets measurable.At the same time the picture continues in the visible part of the cancellation, and it invites is to see the rest of the not represented reality.This double aspect of representation and cancellation not only tries to evoke the absence of limits, excluding any idea of completness or finished thing, but it indicates something which cannot be delimitated, and that is the real.
On the other hand, the possibility of seeing and penetrating universe of reality passes through all the cultural representations and models known, and which have been given to us as definite and decisive, and our relationship with reality and the life is the same relationship as the one of the picture from the satellite with the earth itself. So the photograph with its indeterminateness becomes a privileged subject in order to be able to get outside the symbolism of definite representations to which a certain value of truth has been given.The possibility of analysis in time, in the space of signs which form the reality whose completeness has always slipped our minds, thus permits the photograph, because of its fragmentary character to be closer to things which cannot be delimitated, and that is physical existence.
That is why I am not interested in the pictures and the decisive moments, the study or the analysis of their language as an end in itself, aesthetics, the concept or totalizing ideas, the emotions of the poet, the well-bred quotation, the search for a new aesthetics creed, the use of a style. I am occuped with seeing clearly, that is why I am interested in all possible functions, without separating anyone from the whole, but to assume then in a total way in order to be able to see and render recognizable from one time to another, the hieroglyphs I met. The daily encounter with reality, with the fictions and surrogates, the ambiguoous aspects, poetical or alienating, seems to deny any way out of the labyrinth, whose walls are always more illusive even to the point of confusing ourselves with them. The meaning that I try to give to my work is that of the verification of how it is possible to wish to face the way of knowledge, to make it possible at last to tell the real identity of man, of things, of life from the image of man, of things, of life.
Luigi Ghirri, Kodachrome, London, Mack, 2012