The Paolo Erbetta Gallery is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Barbara La Ragione (Naples, 1974) entitled Burlesque. The title does not describe the kind of show but refers to the origin of the French word “burlesque”—derived from the Italian word “joke” and meaning accordingly “to jeer,” “to make fun of something or someone.” The artistic research of La Ragione tends toward classic analog photography, real and tangible, for creating portraits as an expression of the self hic et nunc, here and now.
The artist creates real and proper mise-en-scènes in which the represented subjects are not actual persons but lifeless masks that, worn by a fetish body, come to life thanks to the alchemy of light and depiction in the final act of the creative process. Thus through photography, the subject acquires an identity that is better represented and expressed through the mask, unique to each character, bringing into play reality and fiction, truth and manipulation, and purity and artificiality. La Ragione’s works are “open” and emphasize the “staging” of life that takes place in a real and perfect space. The look of these characters plunges into everyone’s memory and personal experience, as the artist states: “The eyes are the expression of the soul, they wander in the observer’s oblivion… photography is the eyes… the eye rests on what is still… we are witnesses of life put on stage. Ghosts of lives unlived … without languages … filling the eyes of the beholder, they tell us, whispering, so many things.”
The displayed series of shots is the first one that La Ragione has made with the use of color, done by painting directly on the black and white photo. The chosen subjects comprise a fellowship of masks that the artist has created by making reference to the Italian “Commedia dell’Arte”. Each costume worn by the Burlesque is characterized by the presence of a home, representing its birthplace, its roots. Moreover these structures, placed on the body of the character, recall the inner self, an intimate and confidential space, an inaccessible secret to be cherished.
The series closes with a subject different from all the others: a single house, a whole composed of all the constructions that we find on the characters. All the houses are here brought together to represent a “unicum,” to ratify and strengthen the bond among the different elements, to build the perfect home.
The photographer and engraver Barbara La Ragione was born in 1974 in Naples, where she lives and works. Since creating her first photographs while attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, she has continued to widen and refine both her photographic and engraving techniques, which she further employs in her artistic research. She has presented her works in solo exhibitions at the following galleries: Maximum Carasi, Mantua; Umberto Di Marino, Naples; Sabrina Raffaghello, Alexandria; and Overfoto, Naples. Among the group exhibitions she has participated in since 1998 are the following : "X Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean," Sarajevo , curated by I. Spahic; "100 Artists for a Museum," Casoria International Contemporary Art Museum, curated by A. Manfred; " 03 Borders," Florence, Medici Riccardi Palace, curated by Ivan Margheri; "XII Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean," Naples, curated by A. Bonito Oliva and Gigiotto Del Vecchio; "Biennale of video and photography," Alexandria, curated by Sabrina Raffaghello; "Company from Talent," Naples, Naples Art Palace, curated by Mary Saverese; "54th Venice Biennale," Hall Academy, Venice; "Campania Senses, 54th Venice Biennale, Italy Pavilion," CAM, Casoria; "N.i.na . - New Neapolitan Image," the PAN of Naples, curated by M. Di Capua and V. Rivosecchi; and "Photography Now," Alexandria, Palazzo del Monferrato, curated by Sabrina Raffaghello.
Tueday - Saturday
From 12pm to 6pm and by appointment
- Barbara La Ragione, Gigì - atto terzo Burlesque series, 2013, hand-painted gelatin silver print 29 x 19,5 cm. Ed.3. Courtesy Paolo Erbetta Gallery, Berlin
- Barbara La Ragione, Domì - atto primo Burlesque series, 2013, hand-painted gelatin silver print 40 x 30 cm. Ed.3. Courtesy Paolo Erbetta Gallery, Berlin
- Barbara La Ragione, Giò - atto terzo Burlesque series, 2013, hand-painted gelatin silver print 29 x 19,5 cm. Ed.3. Courtesy Paolo Erbetta Gallery, Berlin