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Teresa Giannico
I used to look at your photographs 
print on cotton paper
cm 110x136

I used to look at your photographs: looking at the photographs of the women in her family in Puglia, portrayed in different special moments in front of the same landscape, Teresa Giannico transforms her memories into art. Neither the faces of the four women nor the landscape are real. They are imagined by the artist who draws inspiration only partially from the wheat fields of Puglia: the entire work is the result of a digital collage of many, many photographic fragments.

In front of the work, we are captured by the eyes of the four women. Their gazes are proud and magnetic, full of life, joys and sorrows; they challenge and question us, giving attention to themes such as motherhood, sisterhood, solidarity, and bringing out the empathy present between the women portrayed and the one we feel when we meet their eyes.

From a distance, the work looks like a painting and only when approached carefully, the technique reveals itself. But the artist is not trying to deceive us: the contours of the fragments are clearly visible, and it is a choice to leave them be perceivable, just as the strokes of colour on a painting might be kept visible. The photographic fragments are assembled one by one from a white screen (a canvas). Not from one brushstroke to another, from one shade to another, but the artist goes from one image to another, through the algorithm of the search engine which returns a photograph similar to the previous one, allowing her to create a boundless and well-catalogued archive of images.

From this archive Teresa Giannico chooses the most suitable fragment, sometimes even getting guided by the work that is gradually being created on the screen. It is an approach very similar to painting: imagination is the guide, it is the artist who creates something from scratch, without reproducing reality. However, she chooses to do so with photographs taken by other people, practicing a recycling, an ecology of the image, in the contemporary media context which overproduces images every day. Even more accurate then, is the title I used to look at your photographs, for an artwork wich not only repurposes images, but for which the original inspiration comes from looking at photographs themselves.

The works on display in Archives of Empathy mark a move toward simplicity in subjects and compositions, with a revival of classic genres - portrait, landscape, still life - but it is with the most recent works, including I used to look at your photographs, that the themes of empathy, care and attention are most closely touched upon. Teresa Giannico thus makes a brave choice, placing herself outside the frenzy of spectacle and the attempt to amaze at any cost. The process of creation itself is slow and almost meditative: having completed the artwork, the artist tells us that she finds herself estranged from reality, totally immersed in the choice of the fragment. It is an approach that requires calm and concentration with which she stands outside the need for quick production and to insert herself into every political debate. There is nothing sensational about the themes faced, they are gestures of care, love and attention, but the feeling that our contemporaneity demands a return to it all, is a vision that is much more political than it seems.

Micol Caruana

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