PIERO BERENGO GARDIN
Kodachrome is the name of a sensitive material, with variable shade able to grant, by transparency, coloured photographic reproductions. On the page, you will find about a hundred of these possible photographs obtained by a material whose trade mark means, by antonomasia, an instrument of work by which you achieve the possibility to communicate with millions of people.
So Kodachrome doesn’t represent a market message, but a code-message, the code of the communication and representation of a reality modified by its own image.
To understand such a code it is necessary the use of a language the analysis of wich let the Author to formulate every possible, aesthetic or practical consideration about the meaning of his work.
Through directions suggested by any methodology, we will try to understand the Photographer not by metaphors of his picture-card but examining the idea he had to select, to settle, to compose the images, one after the other, printing and collecting them in one only great, general image able to probe the final level of knowledge.
We named all this:
1. Labyrinth: relation with the background modified by its representation.
The Photographer approaches the reality in two different ways: one is direct, the other is mediate. Both are possible and logical ways. The photography History, by interlacement of its genres and languages, is a demonstration of this.
The Photographs of this book seem at first sight, an assent of the Author to the background and an outlining of the world represented by the images. However, the approach, not direct as in réportage, is the result of a preferential approaching, mediate from the memory.
The elements composing the work are a large quantity of communication data and a large quantity of ambiguity. While the communication data are direct and immediate, the ones of the ambiguity are mediate by the presence of a very important element: the time going by and its progressive consumption till the limit point of the image congealment and its cancellation.
A direct work on the background produces photographs, the mediate one gives metaphors, symbolic images. The first, one to represent itself, needs the transfer, the participation, the second one needs the alienation, the mediation. The reportage works on the reality by a language of direct type. The symbolic image and the metaphor by a metalanguage.
So the photographs of this possible book are not simple reproductions but image-cards with peripheral landscapes in cardboard being the metalinguistic intermediation in the language structure.
2. The exorcist: behaviour and existence models.
The Author, paging its picture-cards lets a large white space round the image. To all people asking the reason of a so algid, iconographical isolation I answer, in agreement with the Author, that the photograph has been deprived of a superfluous space. I mean the one where it is collected and filed the direct, explicit datum. The subtraction of this space is so corresponding to the cancellation of any possible presumption of truth.
The cancellation is: presence of doubt, personal conscience examination, existence-choice, strategy of knowledge. The picture-card of the suburbs with its landscape in cardboard, becomes as a Model of behaviour so far from the «maxification» and from the neurosis of the group.
It is the explicit, explained ego that perceiving the traps of the removed elements in the presence of the Collective, beats himself for the survival.
In the white space you see the double of the Author, the real and authentic part of himself, a condensation of different strata of ambiguity, the provocation for multiplying to infinity the reflex sense of our daily relation with Reality, increase of cognitive tools, for what already lived.
Realities are exorcised in perspective of a quite different realism.
3. Plan-book: hypotesis of an iconographic, futuristic language.
The book is a continuous revival of memory fragments. Every fragment is composed by a nucleus of fiction having the power of speech with a successive articulation of plentiful words reach in the content.
Every word has an own natural fermentation. The efflorescence widen the semiotic boundaries of the Space-Time proposing a connection word-image in a meticulous, maniacal way as the photographs that Proust shoots to his memory by the words.
So now we have formulated two Hypotesis of plain-book: the first one, in fading, as a memory-album of the life able to lead to the languages-drift, to the mimicry, to the necrosis of the sense. The second one, in perspective, as list-book, leaflet, inventory, primer, memory-screen, programming-file, magnetic ampex for record, video-electronic alphabet.
The Author becomes the elaborator of himself, detaining his own data, keeping them to avoid their total destruction, using these data as a code to communicate with the world. He is tending to identify himself with them assuming their own identity.
To the final zero setting of the languages and the sense, it corresponds a trust in the language and in the knowledge. It is a tautologic remedy inducing to definite this book, already planned till now, a possible, precious palimpsest for a future archaeology.
Criticism proposal by Piero Berengo Gardin for «Kodachrome» of Luigi Ghirri – Roma May 1978