The photographer introduces his first major publication and ponders how archiving imbibes objects with meaning
The Pictures Included in This Envelope is a visual investigation of a series of objects, photographs and memorabilia found in the house of an enigmatic Milanese chemist called Giulia Carrobbio. Combining documentary and rearrangements, I was looking to turn the assumed physical space of Carrobbio’s house into a mental one.
The project was inspired by the idea of collecting: through collecting, objects gain a sort of ‘camouflage’ and acquire an aura of enigma. Hidden meanings gain the upper hand over the actual objects and their functions – the very idea that they were nearing their extinction created a kind of perceptual cohesion. The collection of objects that this woman kept was not merely an inventory, but highlighted a type of behaviour where the unconscious idea of an archive – the idea of safeguarding life experience – seemed to be a way of perception, and processing and transforming emotional life.
Though the inventory is visible on the surface, this archive includes tracks to decode, points of observation, listening tools and perceptual thresholds. The typical trend of arranging in boxes reflects the labyrinthine potential of language. As in some sort of primordial state, writing is drawing and graphics build-up and interweave. The methodology applied to selection and appropriate compositional choices represents a formal language in itself.
The last picture here is an assemblage of photographs from the archive. I like to think there are parallels with my wider career as a photographer, in that this book transformed elements of my work Kaleidoscopically.
The Pictures Included in This Envelope is available HERE. Wild Window by Andrea Ferrari is showing at Galleria Parmeggiani, Reggio Emili as part of Fotografia Europea 2014 until 27 July – more info HERE. All images © Andrea Ferrari