20. Oktober 2020
Michael Schumacher’s red racing glove. Alberto Tomba’s blue ski suit. Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey and many other objects, tools and articles of clothing that belonged to and been used by sports champions in special moments during their careers. Every photograph is a story. Each shot a simulacrum, almost an ex voto. A relic. A promise. An emotion.
The exhibition is in collaboration with STILL Fotografia of Milan and is part of the START circuit, the white night of contemporary art in Genoa. A widespread opportunity to discover new perspectives on contemporary art by visiting the galleries that animate the Genoese art scene.
After a five-year absence, START returns the contemporary art circuit to its public, opening up to the many different Genoese galleries. It is no coincidence that this happens during such a complicated year: the need for enthusiasm, new ideas and above all the privileged point of view of what art can offer by observing the present, are the reasons and the drive that moved the Genoese gallery owners to join again in 2020. START will therefore be an evening of new encounters (in complete safety) and a new opportunity to get closer to future scenarios
After Milan Marco Craig’s „Witness 1: 1“ arrives in Genoa: with a work-in-progress Craig builds a sort of collection of objects, memorabilia, not at all fetish, gravitating towards to the symbolic enhancement of a contemporary story-telling, and accompanings us in the heart of historical sporting events.
It is the case of the Colnago Nuovo Mexico bicycle with which Giuseppe Saronni writes a page in the history of Italian and international cycling. It is September 5, 1982 and Saronni, hands down on the handlebars and with a powerful pedal stroke, wins the world championships in Great Britain with what goes down in history as „the Goodwood shot“, perhaps the most spectacular sprint in the annals of two wheels.
Another cult object is the helmet worn by Giacomo Agostini, motorcycling champion, in the races of the Brno Grand Prix in Czechoslovakia. It was July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong, Apollo 11 astronaut, set foot on the moon and Agostini, won two world titles in the „350“ and „500“ classes with the MV Agusta. This victory, as well as the moon landing, is a historical fact: that year „Ago“ wins all the races and to date is the most titled rider that motorcycling has ever known. The white balaclava that shaped like a heart, preserves the exceptional nature of the enterprise led by Reinhold Messner for future memory. The Italian mountaineer and climber wore it when on 8 May 1978, with his partner Peter Habeler, he reached the summit of Mount Everest without oxygen. The two became heroes t of planetary fame, because they accomplished a feat hitherto considered impossible, to the point of being accused of secretly using small aids. Allegations silenced two years later, when Messner made the ascent alone, resorting only to his strength and competence.
Craig’s photographs are the result of a meticulous investigation that selects a list of historic sporting events and puts the immortal, iconic objects and clothing used by athletes at the center of each image and transforms them from their apparent Sill Life nature into portraits. Inserted in vacuum bags and accompanied by a label that tells the peculiarity of the event experienced, they are all printed in 1: 1 scale in a logic of correspondence with the object taken.
Denis Curti writes:
[…] The first time I encountered these photographs I made a few mental notes: white light, silence, concentration, a prevalence of red, serenity, slowness, zero horizons, nowhere and everywhere in the world, other people’s memories, uniqueness. I considered these images as pieces of a world separated from one another and that, simply by virtue of having been photographed, acquired new meaning. Suddenly I understood that even imagination plays a role in this space, becoming palpable, visible. There is physicality in these photographs. There is a consistency of light and air. That’s why they appear as a unified whole, as a collective embrace.
I even wondered about this photographic genre. What am I looking at? Sports imagery? Still-lifes? Criminal evidence? Obviously none of the above. Once, while interviewing a sports photographer, I heard him say “If you see action, it means you’ve missed it.” This is the mantra of those who prove they are capable of establishing a sympathetic relationship with athletes and enter into the spectator’s vibrant euphoria. Marco Craig has highlighted its exact opposite. While it is true that timing and reactivity always form the foundation of a certain way of photographing, this series on the other hand, emphasizes the importance of a project, of research and careful thinking, because these shots are far re-moved from specific genres, evolving to become part of storytelling’s contemporary dimension.
When Man Ray said, “…I would much rather shoot the idea of an object, and shoot a dream rather than that idea,” he may have meant that the grammar of imagery has never tried to follow the rules of the word. He is proving, in the name of a precise, necessary autonomy, that photography is the child of a modern, bourgeoise spirit. Its specific nature – that of reproducibility – destroys the aura connected with a concept of unicum and becomes “art moyen,” easily accessible, mechanically simple. Today all of this is on display in the work of Marco Craig.
Until December 5th
Piazza Invrea 4r – 16123 Genova, Italy