Disintegrata: Silvia Rosi at the Maramotti Collect...

Disintegrata: Silvia Rosi at the Maramotti Collection in Reggio Emilia

Disintegrata, an exhibition project conceived for the spaces of the Maramotti Collection by the photographer Silvia Rosi, already makes its dual specificity explicit in its title in a double-track development that involves formal and content aspects. The exhibition is in fact made up of often divided, multiplied images that refer to the state of a work “under construction” returned to the user through a language that mixes photographs (the presence of which is predominant) with digital works and videos. Similarly, the identity of the author is fragmented: she was born in Scandiano from Togolese parents, grown in Emilia where she currently resides, dividing herself, after a degree in photography from the London College of Communication, between Italy, England and Lomè.

Silvia Rosi. “Disintegrata”, exhibition view. Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia
© Silvia Rosi, ph. Masiar Pasquali

The term disintegrated which gives the title to the exhibition (an expression borrowed from a phrase by her mother who used to say to Silvia: «I was integrated now I am disintegrated») at the same time does not only trivially allude to the author’s state, that is, being the result of a melting pot, in terms of sharing a common destiny with that of many families distributed across the national territory who some of their members located in various places, an aspect which also animates the creative intention underlying her modus operandi, which starts from autobiographical narratives to address universal issues such as that of the diaspora. In fact, this exhibition aims to lay the foundations for creating a more extensive and complex project, aimed at activating an Italian network of Afro-descendant citizens and the construction of a diaspora family archive on the national territory, aimed at exploring new opportunities for the dissemination of visual knowledge through vernacular photos. The exhibition opens with images mounted on monitors often placed side by side, static or moving, made in black and white or color which immortalize Silvia Rosi and her mother as they cross the landscape and become an integral part of it, assimilating it.

Silvia Rosi, “Disintegrata di Profilo”, 2024, Fine Art print on Baryta paper © Silvia Rosi, created with the support of Collezione Maramotti

A plain landscape, dominated by tall grass, free from any distinctive and connoting sign which on the one hand refers to a suspended, neutral place, without space or time, on the other, especially for those who usually frequent it, unequivocally evokes Emilian views. It is the same landscape so loved and portrayed by Luigi Ghirri, also born in Scandiano, who passed away in ‘92 just when she was born, «that plain landscape in which there is no extraordinary or unusual element to cling to» and which in this case acts as a discreet background to bring out the people who are held there and who occupy it. A plain inhabited by the artist and her mother, photographed, crossed, lived by both in an experience of mimesis and appropriation that has already occurred, yet re-theatricalized to keep track of it. In this domestic landscape, lush, green, luminous, still, the women filmed in tableaux that at times become animated, wear the same jacket, a common thread that connotes a common, intimate belonging, summarized in “wearing the same clothes”, in a recording that documents a shared source. Rosi is no stranger to this type of projects: some of her past works come to mind in which the labrum (rolled fabric base for carrying loads on the head) is taken up while it is being constructed in a tradition that is handed down from generation to generation (Mother and grandmother) or on Rosi herself while wearing a school uniform, with reference to her mother’s life as a merchant which began very early; it becomes a cultural symbol of matrilineal transmission, a sign of the same origin.

Silvia Rosi, “Disintegrata dal Parrucchiere”, 2024, Fine Art print on Baryta paper © Silvia Rosi, created with the support of Collezione Maramotti

In the second room there are self-portraits of the artist alias Disintegrata placed in different situations: on a bike, under the hairdresser’s helmet, with her back turned, waiting, together with a couple of suitcases, dressed as a bride in traditional and modern clothes. These are narratives that Silvia Rosi recreates in the studio inspired by family albums, an operation that takes inspiration from the West African tradition whereby it was usual for ordinary people to go to take a portrait in studios that were real sets, sound stages filled with objects of desire (such as refrigerators, scooters, radios, telephones), indisputable status symbols with which to be immortalized. Portraits reinterpreted in turn by famous African artists from whom the young photographer draws inspiration by sharing their aesthetics, such as Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keïta and even more, for the combination of photography, self-portraiture and performance, Samuel Fosso. Rosi plays by reconnecting with this tradition and reinventing it as she pleases, a bit as she had done in the past by impersonating her father and mother, creating self-portraits arising from personal or handed down memories, whose environmental backgrounds bear traces of geometric patterns similar to those found in the shots by Sidibé. Once again the user is faced with separate, multiplied visions, created with the same subjects that accommodate multiple visions, such as the artist’s self-portrait next to numerous family photos inserted in frames of various sizes piled up on wooden bedside tables or to the diptych which becomes a starting point for reflecting on the concept of representation. Here, Silvia in a suit covers her face, hiding it and replacing it with albums on which the writing AGFA stands out (to strengthen the dual identity of woman and photographer, but also to elect herself as the representative of an enlarged family), or even to the triptych where Rosi portrays herself wearing a traditional African wedding dress next to a shot in which she wears a contemporary look of a modern bride with a bouquet covering her gaze.

Ameganvi Family Album Image, 90’s, Fine Art print on Baryta paper © Silvia Rosi

To underline the authorship of the point of view there is the self-timer device that appears in the photos and which reveals the awareness of one’s own focus and identity, within a conscious direction in which Silvia is the subject and author, without the possibility of misunderstanding and where indeed the “behind the scenes” is shown through the exhibition of a language that is well mastered, as it is evidenced by the work marked by the red sticker with which Rosi identifies the negatives to be printed or those works with clear signs of printing tests, susceptible, if necessary, to being changed. The third room hosts some images from family albums (many of which are placed in a transparent case), which tell the daily life of African immigrants before 2000, part of that great work still in progress assisted by Mistura Allison, Theophilus Imani and Ifeoma Nneka Emelurumonye, which was mentioned earlier. At the end of the journey, a video shows the photographer immersed in listening to audio cassette recordings of the voices of distant family members intent on reading letters, where a daily life emerges in which we update ourselves on health, economic and sentimental issues. A space of memory returned through a divided projection and recalled this time through the word, thanks to which each spectator imagines the protagonists of these epistolary exchanges by recreating their own personal album. Disintegrata, the first Italian institutional exhibition of the young photographer Silvia Rosi, hosted at Collezione Maramotti directed by Sara Piccinini, is part of the vast program of the 19th edition of the European Photography Festival entitled Nature loves to hide, inaugurated in Reggio Emilia on 28 April and scheduled until June 9, 2024.


Silvia Rosi. Disintegrata
28/04  – 28/07/2024
Visit with free entry during the opening hours of the permanent collection
Thursday and Friday 2.30pm – 6.30pm – Saturday and Sunday 10.30am – 6.30pm
Collezione Maramotti Via Fratelli Cervi 66 42124 Reggio Emilia
tel. +39 0522 382484;


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