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UN-FAMILIAR is a photographic project consisting of nine photographic shots. In a historical moment in which the gender phenomenon is monopolizing the debates on education and the use of stereotypes represents an easy shortcut to the interpretation of reality, Moriconi decides to present the various facets through which the contemporary family is expressed, therefore a current theme , but also widely recurrent in portraiture since Roman times. The family, value and founding structure of Italian society, is also, as the winking play on words that gives the title to the exhibition reminds us, the place of the unknown, of the stranger. In an increasingly liquid society, according to Bauman's definition, gripped by the uncertainties of the future and the dissipation of frenetic consumption, a reflection on the fluid identity of the family universe is required which, despite the disputes and upheavals, has nevertheless overcome the short century with renewed vigor and extraordinary ability to adapt and remodel.

With UN-FAMILIAR Moriconi was able to capture the daily intimacy of the family, decontextualized from the usual domestic places where it is often portrayed. Exiles from the private hearth, the depicted families, whose ties are authentic and not reconstructed for the photographic set, look for a new space to be able to express themselves, assert themselves, evolve and find it outside. They abandon majestic, decadent and sometimes disturbing residences located between Tuscany and Puglia, to conquer an en plein air dimension, in contact with a welcoming and vivifying Pascoli nature. The photos, unlike the black and white portraits of the early 1900s, whose protagonists were motionless in front of the camera and forced into unnatural poses, tell moments of everyday life, with the spontaneity and contradictions that characterize them. There are clear references to works such as Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe and to the paintings of French realism.

The artist presents various ways of being together, beyond common stereotypes and certainties, highlighting the dynamics of sharing and pure affections. This is the case of the two friends, caught almost in a moment of complete ecstasy. Or of the three women who, in the circularity and harmony of their gazes, recall the Visitation of Pontormo, a painter dear to the artist from Lucca.

The portrait of the twins, on the other hand, is configured as a sort of homage to the fascinating and disturbing theme of the double, an evident echo of the Two Fridas of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. The separation from the house here is more clear than ever, the sense of abandonment of the place more evident. Their search for new points of reference is expressed in their mute affectivity, in a more reassuring elsewhere.

Among the more structured families, the rainbow family stands out, symmetrical but at the same time different from the traditional or intercultural family. The gaze of the two fathers is polarized on the two sons as if to want to protect and confirm a choice of freedom.

Some shots also remind us of the vulnerability and transience of emotional ties. An example of this is the mourning represented by the image of the elderly widow who, like a sort of resigned and unchanging parka, knits knitting the threads of a past that is now only a memory. Or the solitude, deliberate or suffered, of the woman in the flowered dress, tenacious and emancipated contemporary Madonna who, gazing around her children, defends her role as woman and mother, thus completing a landscape with her presence rural where nature mitigates the collapse of decay.

Loneliness is also present in the portrait of the transsexual Queen, an austere, mysterious and at the same time fragile figure, whose face is, as Lévinas would say, pure epiphany, nakedness that reveals itself, meets the other and questions him. Dressed, in broad daylight, in a red evening dress, the figure stands out in the center of an orderly and desolate nature, claiming the right to a chosen physicality, shown with grace and discretion.

Mauro Moriconi's portraits stand out on the aluminum surface, his stylistic and operational code in the photographic field, with all their slight clarté, immersed in a universe of symbols and decorative elements - dogs, fruit - reminiscent of Velazquez's canvases or Van Eyeck, suspended between tradition and contemporaneity. The figures become pure objective correlatives of subtle and calm emotions. Their presence arouses curiosity and sharing and is the bearer of universal and imperishable feelings.

If in the last century André Gide shouted provocatively from the pages of his Nourritures terrestres “I hate you families!”, Here Moriconi seems to be launching an equally provocative cry, but with the opposite sign: “I love you families!”. His gaze observes and includes without judgment, inviting the viewer to glide on its impressed and expertly engraved surfaces with the delicacy and attention required of those who observe the complex changes in our society.


Paola Martini

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