In the past, painting had the aim of representing reality in landscapes and portraits, trying to immortalize situations, objects and people in as much detail as possible. In addition was common the creation of religious and biblical works commissioned by the Church , also characterized by a high level of detail.
The birth of photography freed painting from the task of having to represent reality in detail, allowing the artist instead to express his vision in a more abstract and expressive way. In this way, painting was able to develop freely towards new forms of personal expression.
But there are still many strands of artistic photography, starting with ManRay at the beginning of the 1900s, who, playing and experimenting in the darkroom, opened the doors to artistic research through the use of this tool.
Roberto Pestarino is a photographer from Cassano Spinola, AL, who belongs to the trend of artistic photography, sympathetic, sunny and outgoing, with many awards and recognitions, and he is one of the first to whom we turned to propose to participate in the collective exhibition “The Metaphysics of Black and White” at Forte of Gavi, AL. But Roberto doesn’t have black and white photographic projects, so will not participate in this particular exhibition, but I still want to talk about it here in my blog, because he deserves attention.
Among his projects, the ones that struck me the most are the “Self-portraits” and the series entitled “Inside the shops”.
In the self-portrait series, the setting is very simple, there is him and the radiator, but with a few simple additional elements, each photo acquires a completely different value and environment depending on the meaning he wants to give to the photo. In addition to himself and the radiator, an inner and existential search pervades the photographs in this series, with many self-referred questions about the meaning of his existence and his relationship with the world and society.
The “Inside the shops” series, on the other hand, are nocturnal shots dedicated to shop windows in which the mannequins are the protagonists.
Certainly Pestarino is not the first to use mannequins in an artistic form, and photography owes a lot to painting, since it represents an evolution of the artistic research undertaken by painting itself.
Already De Chirico at the beginning of the 20th century populated his paintings with mannequins, mysterious faceless characters sometimes in the guise of classic quotations. And so art goes, endless quotations, because from inspiration comes another inspiration, and luckily inspiration is contagious. De Chirico therefore left an imprint on the history of art, so much so that he also influenced contemporary artists such as Mark Kostabi in painting and various in photography, such as Paolo Amoretti, painter, chef and photographer, who over the years has used mannequins many times as the protagonists of his photographic shots and of course Roberto Pestarino.
In Roberto’s photographs, the mannequins acquire a life of their own by transmitting emotions. I think this is the magic of art, when with the tools you have you give life to things, through vision and transformation, like a kind of alchemy. With these photos Roberto not only expresses himself but gives the viewers a different way to experience through his photos, like after watching a spectacular movie you are left with a feeling of enrichment, of having something more inside you about to count on, food for thought, an emotion that stays with you, a feeling that pervades you.
Pestarino’s photographs have nothing to do with technical virtuosity, but are the expression of a real artistic research, which moves from the inside to the outside, and vice versa, they are pure visual poems that don’t need words, collecting all their meaning in an immortal moment.