Start of work: 2007
Metamorphosis originated from the discards of Handle with Care that gradually accumulated on the floor, generating an invasive and distressing ‘mass grave of the image’.
This necessary implies not only the concept of ‘death’ but also that of ‘rebirth’.
Death is represented here through a series of huge flowers piled up on each other as if they were lifeless bodies.
Rebirth, on the other hand, is constituted by the continuous metamorphosis of these creatures, the formal aspect of which appears to be a sort combination between what we see represented on the matter and what the matter itself represents, comprising the visual and the tactile worlds, appearance and substance.
“Pignatelli’s images become entirely matter, with palpable weight and substance. A series of large oblong sheets of photographic paper depicting flowers are piled up. The paper has been manipulated, its surface crumpled up and the photographs piled on top of each other to form a disorderly heap, as happens with amorphous matter. This work takes Pignatelli’s photographic discourse to its extreme consequences: to put it simply, for some time now the artist has printed directly from the negative of a colour photograph, so that whatever we see — flowers, views of cities, Renaissance masterpieces or woods — has false colours. So also the large flowers we see here have unnatural colours and the black grounds were originally white. In the photographs of nature, this alteration of the colour values took on a negative connotation, one of alarm.
A similar sense of alarm is evidently stronger in this heap of destroyed flowers and ruined paper, and one’s thoughts inevitably turn to death. The light here has been converted into its opposite, total darkness, the black of the chromatically converted photographic paper. A solution is to use the real ambient light: Pignatelli brings into play the effective phenomenology of the space and hence its light, whether this be natural or artificial. On the heap with its battered yet beautiful sheets of paper, resembling a bulky memento mori, there is the flickering of a thousand little lights because the photographic paper is partially reflective.
Something survives this catastrophe: the real light here involves the idea of the life situated even within death”.
From an essay by Giorgio Verzotti. Milano, 2008.