Nicol Vizioli began as a painter and gradually her fascination of still images developed in the form of a strong passion for photography. Nicol’s work has a rare and natural intimacy; she uses photography as a means to disclose the multitude of physical feelings arising when drawing on a white canvas. Painting and photography are inseparable in her work, they influence each other, in a continuous, never-ending flow.
After completing her degree in cinema she moved to London, where she has recently completed an MA in Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion. Her solo exhibition Shadows On Parade runs until the 29th June at the Arts Gallery, University of the Arts London, 272 High Holborn.
The images in this series appear as if snapshots from nightmares, they are dark and theatrical. Could you tell us a little about the concept behind the project?
Shadows On Parade is a project I completed a few months ago. It is a series of 22 portraits and it draws upon many different places such as mythology, literature, painting and the animal world: photography is therefore regarded as the convergence point, where all of them meet. Those images are small stories of pursuit, of travel and unfamiliar; small epiphanies caught in the dark magma from which they become alive inside of me. They are desires, declinations of my imagery, dreams and promises of the fantastical.
There is a specific idea of space in it: no scenario, the possible reality is a black box, antechamber of desire, abyss as amplifying device of our consciousness. There is no emptiness or total absence of life, but a summary of all the choices and possibilities, from which life’s forms and shapes come from. Due to the soft light figures appear like a revelation and the rest remains wrapped in the deep darkness, in the mystery. It is a sort of night fallen onto the whole world. And the human body is at the centre of it, as in my whole work.
When you scan your negatives, you leave the dust picked up during the scanning process visible. Most photographers would remove these in post production. What is the reasoning behind this distinctive choice?
I have a strange fascination for dust, powder or anything else that somehow interacts with the flesh.
The people who populate my imagery are always covered in dust, they often come with dirty nails and a quite specific look, as they have been caught in the middle of a journey, as if they came back from a distant place. That place could be physical or not, it doesn’t matter.
It is like witnessing the return of “the traveller”, having encountered the unknown and returning with a scratch.
The dust, the scratches on the negative I guess it is part of it, they become a metaphor of that journey: as well as the characters, the film itself wears the dust as a scar, as a memory of that distant place from where they all come from. Starting from this consideration, sometimes I let the dust becoming part of the picture because it makes sense in that way, other times it is an accident, and other times I get rid of it. However I am slowly going towards a different direction.
You studied MA Fashion Photography at London College of Fashion, how did you find the course and would you recommend it to others?
I had the opportunity to meet many people from all over the world, and that has been a very exciting part of the course. And being in London of course is challenging and very inspiring. I don’t know if I should recommend it to others or not, I don’t know if it makes sense. My experience was definitely positive, I personally had a lot of support and I am very grateful for that. But I guess it all depends on what you are really looking for. I was trying to reach something inside me, in my work, so I guess I used the whole experience – the course, being in London, getting lost – to get closer to that. If you know what you want to see, then you find and see, and it could happen anywhere.
Are you working on or planning any new projects? Please tell us about it/them?
I will exhibit at SCOPE Basel 2012, the international art fair held in June 12 -17 in Basel, Switzerland, it is a great opportunity and I am very excited about it.
Most of all I am working on a new body of work which will lead to another solo show I am going to have in October this year: it will be in Milan at Officine dell’Immagine, a gallery I am working with now. At the moment it is hard to say what exactly the whole project is going to be, but it will hopefully involve the moving image as well as photography… let’s see.
Meanwhile there are other side projects I am involved in, including a couple of fashion projects, a music one, a group show and all that will hopefully come.