Cemento, the series of photographs by Sicilian born Pietro Motisi, uncovers new ground in the ruins of old, commenting on the atrocity of modern builds. In desolate scenes, calm smog of neutral light enchants the scenes on show. Their stillness, so quiet, you can almost hear the strand of mind brush past our backs as the day lives on. Confronting potentially traditional ground, the series struggles to fit in with the grey haired pictures in stuffy rooms of intelligence. They are too alive. Instead, the work borrows the lecture notes, slings them into a backpack and takes a motorbike journey up to the places looking to provide an enchanted perspective.
For all the images grounding ability, they have a tendency to wander. It begins to feel like a love affair, with common ground, placing the mundanely, exotic scenes before different backgrounds. The viewers of the series can undoubtedly acknowledge their grafted perspective, almost like loose notes on a paper, yet they hold their weight, forming from alternative motives other than photography. They borrow from intelligent sources, as notions of anthropology and historical references form a new beast. The picture production mirrors tireless workers, made only with the scratching of the head, a flexing of the mind’s muscle and the lucid exploration into the emotional wellbeing of buildings. For they are hurt, stranded, abandoned and left for picking, yet stand intimidatingly strong. The position is vulnerable, isolated and far from comfortable.
There is no wrestling with light, as harsh shadows do not belong here. Scenes of the night effortlessly unravel leaving us entering a hike of ideas. Their true beauty is earned, from both the maker and the person viewing. When comprised in book form, it distances itself from contemporary suggestions, the pictures laid out in logic without the need to produce fireworks. They, as images, run through our minds, and skip the aesthetic bone in our body and head straight to the substance. For they carry such conviction, determination, presenting a representation the buildings would be proud of. You can almost see their families presenting these pictures as family archives, framed on the walls for other walls to see.
Confronting the subject, concrete is everywhere to be seen. Blocks of solid grey fill areas of living, creating challenging living spaces, for their presence is daunting. Should we see these places without sensational Sicilian light, they may carry the burdens of the active inhibiters. Instead they present the country on show, deterring from negativity, yet tapping it on the shoulder to see what is wrong. Their execution traditional, they cannot congregate with traditional representations, as the air that surrounds the pictures mimics the free flowing creation of the photographer himself. For these spaces are made for living, confronting our fears we present on the walls as we pass them, the memories of insatiable beauty and the moments of solidarity. For they are just buildings but hear much more than we could anticipate. Making their connection with us a distant friendship, like strangers in the street. And time spent in the presence of such places build unconventional bonds we did not know were possible.
Written by Alexander Norton / Published 6 January 2014