conversation with Camilla…

A conversation with Camilla Borghese by Serena De Dominicis

Your photos are the result of a very delicate balance between what is natural and what is artificial. What does this relationship mean to you?
Through my photographs i wish to transmit what my eyes observe; the astonishment and surprise that this architecture arises in me. I try to reproduce these sensations in my pictures with the same passion i feel. However, in the field of architecture this process is very complicated because the rooms are often very big and not easily available when i want to photograph them, which, as i said, is in itself a complicated matter…

Later, once i succeed in overcoming the first obstacles encountered to reproduce the image impressed in my mind, I try to re-interpret the subject according to an idea of architecture well rooted in my head – even if the latter undergoes a continuous slow evolution – and this is exactly when the gap between the natural and the artificial is created. Many of my photographs seem to represent architecture exactly as it is, while what is actually represented is a personal point of view in which I almost wish the subject to adapt to my idea though I fully respect every single project as well as the time this work represents. This is why you may sometimes notice some nonsense in my work, something that seems wrong to a quick glance, something that may seem casual and is instead carefully studied…

While we are talking it dawns upon me that your research is carried out through contrasts: natural/artificial, antique/modern, care in handling the material and tension in emptying the material… is it only an impression, a coincidence?
Yes, through contrasts, but according to a single guiding thread that leads to a classic idea of architecture, in the highest sense of the term and it does not matter how I represent it or what period it belongs to. What really matters is to achieve that idea of balance, space, light and depth that actually belongs to me. The material that forms the architecture is something that has long been fascinating me and I believe will always do. I must admit however that my most recent research tends to imply the material, almost interiorize it to allow the idea that anticipates the very being of a form, of a space, prevail…

Do you follow a very accurate technical procedure when creating your work? Do you feel like talking about it?
My procedure consists mainly in looking up to the buildings whether I am in a pedestrian area or literally in the middle of rush hour traffic, perhaps without my camera. Later, once I identify a possible picture, I go backto that site with a light camera to take a picture according to my idea and after a careful study I return there at a chosen hour with my optical stand, ladder and all my equipment to take the final photo.

One of the most interesting aspects of my work is the patient walk around the building, following the movement of the sun and the clouds above me….and I consider myself lucky if I am not surrounded by hooting cars!

In your exhibition there are only pictures of Roman architecture. What is your relation with this city?
My relation with Rome is very strong, almost symbiotic in fact. I was lucky enough to grow up in the historic centre where I still live and work and this helped me to foster my fondness for this city and, unaware at first and then quite openly, my passion for architecture. Through the years, also thanks to my job, I had the opportunity to know it better and more completely because we must admit that nowadays the historic centre is but a small part of Rome.

There is a very special picture that is different from all the others and is also the only indoor one in this corpus of works. I’m talking of Architectura Eidectica. Storie di Enea. How was this born, what is “behind” it?
This work was born from a basic idea bound to the perception of indoor spaces and, as a result, from the need to show a space as far as possible complete.

If we think of our way of perceiving and observing an architectural space we cannot but notice the difference between open and indoor spaces: if we observe a building from the outside we actually focus on the volume as a whole and the eternal space that surrounds it is important but actually secondary; conversely, if we observe the indoor spaces of this same building our mind will take in information on what we have just seen and left back and its presence will accompany us along our path. Thus our imagination, working on memory, will re-form our idea of that space into a single vision, even if we can only see a portion at a time. This work was born from my personal oneiric intuition of this magnificent hall by Borromini, enriched by Pietro da Cortona’s frescoes on the ceiling, in an attempt to return the mirror-like symmetry of the two imposing serliennes at the two ends of the hall, cadenced by the rhythm of the imposing door frames.

This is the first work of a new series titled Architettura Eidetica, at which i have long been working.

I was amazed by the correspondence between the view of the Pantheon ⊥ . 07:54 . ROME (2013) and the Flagellazione di Cristo by Piero della Francesca. How is your work influenced by your being an art historian?
In his essay on Piero della Francesca Berenson writes: «We are almost tempted to conclude that Piero was not as interested in humans as he was in sentient and acting living creatures. He considered them existences in three dimensions which he would have easily replaced with arches, pillars, capitals, cornices and rows of walls.» (pag. 14, ed. abscondita, 2007).

In my work I often try to represent a diaphanous space in a suspended atmosphere and when i succeed in representing architectural reality in its most delicate hues matching them to the magnificence of the subject my mind goes to Piero della Francesca…

While walking around at sunset there is a moment when the red light of the sun fades away so that the indirect light shines homogenously on the walls, the buildings, the objects: it is then that my eyes open as if in the dark because no light disturbs the eye and it is then that everything becomes clear, in line with my thoughts and the sensation that those materials, those forms and those spaces become alive and absolutely free.

True enough history of art is something that always accompanies me in my work, something through clear and suspended images, sometimes, on the contrary, through very strong expressions, especially when i think of Mantegna or Signorelli, or later of Tiziano and Tintoretto’s strong and vivid light.

I know that my work has two aspects; a more definite one, serene and tending to an ideal sort of architecture and a more dramatic one, anchored to the contingent reality. Arco di Giano . 18:31 . ROME  is an example of this, but it belongs to my way of conceiving reality and especially the city of Rome.


Monday 13th october, 2014 h 4,53 p.m

Thursday 16th october, 2014 h 7,00 p.m


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