Aldobranti – Ethology of a separated, individual shadow

Other Company, #357. Long exposure photograph with laser pointer drawing - aldobranti


I make each and every image out of my curiosity about the final result. The uncertainties of natural light and chemical process will bring their freedom to my progress.

A major part of my work derives from the title “Shadow Catchers” of an exhibition of cameraless photography in 2010. Since then my focus of research has been on the identity and movement of shadows, in particular shadows that invite our efforts to catch them. Like a wildlife photographer, I have run after them to catch them in rare moments of their individual action: in some attempt to answer the question what would my, equally your shadow do if it could slip the leash tying it to your foot.

Narrative Invited. #389. Large format photograph with protective clothing suits - aldobranti

A more recent aspect of this research has been to look at the disruption of Shadow in the conventional dialectic of Figure and Ground. I could argue that Shadow is a more natural counterpart to Ground, these being both of the 2D world and because in painting or photography the Light that reveals Figure is practically limited by Shadow. This direction of research means that I study the floor of the scene in great detail and how it responds to shadow and the surrounding 3D world of figure and its attendant narrative.

My MA final submission at Winchester School of Art, 2014 followed through another line of reasoning based on ideas developed by the German Romantic philosophers among others Fichte, Novalis and Kant on appearance. In his prose-poem ‘Hymns to the Night’ Novalis wrote “In anderen Räumen schlug die lustigen Gezelte das Licht auf”

The Romantic Age struggled within a paradox of maintaining simultaneously a belief in future plenitude and the awareness of its impossibility. Novalis sets out in Hymns to reconcile himself with his mortality; this first Hymn delineates clearly the separation between Light/Life and Dark/Death. As night falls, Light puts up its festive tents somewhere else; the tents will become apparent through their illumination of inner brightness.

Shadow and Naked Portrait, #291. Photograph with protective clothing suit - aldobranti

I explore this work through the irony that I have learnt to articulate for myself in the postmodern as:

“Just because I can, it doesn’t mean that I should”.

Therefore in a minimalist mode, I indulge in just one, teensy weensy conceit. Don Judd’s copper boxes are so full of light that there is no room for anything else: this cube is flooded with UV light only becoming visible in contact with the outer fabric through the material’s fluorescence. The inhabitants of the cube do not become illuminated in this way and referencing Novalis are given no appearance in the interior darkness. On the outside we infer their existence by the shadows they continue to cast.

I started my MA as a photographer, at worst now I am a fine artist whose mark making is photographic.

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