“VENICE” (2006), Daniele Luchetta Gallery, Venice, and others various Art Gallery

...thus it is that a photographer like Michele Alassio, in order to carry away or steal the soul of the stones of Venice (and they, at least, are not aware or terrified, nor manipulated in their peremptory eternity) has to seek a sort of transfert between the surface of objects, articles or landscapes, and the surface of the supports appropriate for their reproduction. A transfert between skin and skin which comes from far away and has the added value of the images from the real world fixed technologically as its effective aim, that is, the possibility (stimulated perhaps, although in the meaning of ‘artificially reproducing the conditions of a real phenomenon for the purposes of experimentation 5 ) to reach immortality.

“The reliability of photography, its claim to preserve and construct a memory is something I have always regarded as a limitation rather than a benefit,” writes Alassio. “I have no fondness for the present: it is a brief moment when every considered instant is past, dashed off with the profundity of an animal reflex, and in any case, we know for sure that memory is not that huge Borges‐like library we thought we had lodged in our brains. Now we know that every fact of our existence is registered there only as an essential icon which we adorn with phrases, lights and feelings only when we remember it, and that this reconstruction posses the seditious reliability of our sentiments, of our momentary desires.”

Emotion, commission. It is not easy for a photographer to surrender when he finds himself involved in the usual fulfilment of his profession. It happens, perhaps, when the aesthetic quality he usually expresses is linked to a considerable technical preparation both in the shooting and in the printing stage which permeates and mediates all technologies, including the most recent digital ones. But it can also occur when taking still‐lifes of glass objects, jewels, shoes, fabrics or whatever else might come in front of the lens for documentary or promotional purposes; because every work is the testing of a challenge between the eye which first sees, then observes and the mind which plans the more or less visionary induced image.

“I believe that photography must take its soul from the existing and that the only project leading to a photograph must be intellectual and emotive. Any imagined, planned image materially constructed in order to be taken is not a photograph but an installation. It is not an idea but the advertising of an idea; not a sentiment but, at most, its representation.”

This declaration might seem a contradiction in terms, but reading between the lines, one can discern the need to render a project requiring great patience plausible in some way, especially with regard to all those technological implications which might appear prevalent, highlighting, above all, the formal conception of the images. While what really counts for Alassio is probably what remains after the vision, once the aesthetic impact is over within the viewer. Within the other, is the definitive skin, the living one which covers all the material and sensitive whole, identifying the human being. Together with that timid touchiness of the artist who must place himself in the public gaze, to be judged, to exist through his works, but who – at the same time – is fearful of opening himself up too much, of not being able to block the investigative gaze of the onlooker on his own skin.

From the essay by Carlo Montanaro from the catalogue