An interview with Cinzia Carbonelli & Adriana Seganti

Updated: 3 days ago

How do you define the artistic series Carne e Verdura (Meat and Vegetables)?

ADRIANA: This work reflects my idea of ​​beauty, a certain obsession with perfection and harmony. This idea makes me think that to be "palatable" seems necessary to be attractive, light and playful.

CINZIA: This is an ironic title for a series of photographic shots born with the spontaneity of those who observe nature and its forms.

I want it to express the triumph of life and its poetic complexity.

I would define my artwork as ironic, pop, desecrating.

What new projects are you currently working on?

ADRIANA: In this crucial moment, the beauty's observation leads me to look at and dwell on its direct opposite, therefore imperfection or the simple passage of time.

In my opinion, the passage of time adds beauty, rather than "ruining" the body and the things, (emphasizing the lost memory).

The advancing age seems to be a thorn in the side, a taboo, which science, technology and medicine are persistently trying to fight. The signs of ageing are condemned and humiliated by a socio-cultural system that refuses to accept ageing. People don't accept the decay of tissues and the skin tone as an inexorable and natural process.

CINZIA: My next artistic work will certainly have an introspective matrix.

I find great enthusiasm in being able to get in touch with the deepest and most intimate part of an individual. The camera will be by my side as an absolute ally to undertake this new path.

How did you deal with this particular moment of lockdown and pandemic? Were you able to draw inspiration from pain and estrangement, from the forced enclosure at home?

ADRIANA: Giving more value to small daily gestures, that were always sacrificed to professional efficiency.

The lockdown pushed me to seek a "slower time" and to promote a more empathic observation and a more emotional relationship with the other.

Hence another project, that of the portrait of the iris, in which uniqueness is the real added value rather than the idea of ​​perfection and beauty.

CINZIA: In my opinion, the situation we are experiencing represents a phase of great transformation for humanity. It is time for the new advancing. I have converted fear and restrictions into the idea of ​​change and innovation that I wish I could express through photography.

Your photographs of the Meat and Vegetables series were born as a matter of fact, but you have conceived them in continuation of research that has lasted for 8 years. What is your research focused on? If the "Meat and Vegetables" series is just one piece of a vaster picture, what are the other acts that do, or will be part of your work?

ADRIANA AND CINZIA: In truth, research arises spontaneously, we have always done obsessive research on the perfection of the body. We photographed many actors and took fashion photos (we still do today).

We have pursued this discourse on the esthetic shape and the skin texture to the "nth degree". This research is inspired by perfection in nature, perfection associated with both the world of plants and the human body.

The first creative phase was that of shooting and researching the female body.

The second act focused on the male body. There is a more erotic and sensual connotation, due to nature (gender) of the subjects.

Now, this aesthetic component is certainly present in the artworks we are going to do.

Nevertheless, the aesthetic component also reflects a psychological attitude and the willingness to seek inner refinement.

The work is deviating his course and is painting itself with a more emotional and introspective component. Slowly, slowly, the obsession with perfection gives way to the emergence of defects that take on a new and fulminating interest, in our eyes.

The naked body with its pink and opaque shades, with its porosity, contrasts with the vegetable. Fruit and vegetables have numerous streaks, bright and highly aesthetic colours. The pumpkin becomes, with its radial wedges, the natural extension of a muscular lower back.

What attracts you to the human body and its similarities with nature?

ADRIANA E CINZIA: The interesting conception you suggest immediately gave us a reflection.

This game of similarities between the body and nature could arise from the following idea. Man, plants, animals - nature in its totality - are all part of the same mechanism. Although the man, with his developed forms and his intelligence, feels superior and different.

The beauty of living beings is certainly expressed through traits of uniqueness but also through traits of convergence, shared with other species.

In fact, now we are dedicating ourselves to new research that focuses on the iris. This is the concept behind the research: it is possible to see the shape of the universe in an enlarged iris. A galaxy seems floating inside an eye.

What we like to emphasize in this work is the powerful interconnection between man and nature.

Irreverence and irony, even before sensuality. How important is play and synergy in your art?

ADRIANA AND CINZIA: The game is certainly very important. Indeed, in some shots, we become models. This is a secret that we have never revealed. This secret expresses the idea of ​​getting involved. Synergy and complicity are also important in this photographic research. They reveal the game of exchange and "exchange of roles".

Often, speaking about your work, you used the first person singular. Maybe, this is due to the division of tasks and your peculiar skills... can you describe us how a shooting takes place and how the post-production? Imagine if you wanted us to participate to let us enjoy this magical moment…

ADRANA AND CINZIA: Our work is synergic, we are almost interchangeable.

If we were speaking in the singular, it was to answer your questions individually, without overlapping. We are in full synergy: if one of the two has an idea, the other adds the content.

If one of us holds on the camera; the other prepares the set or gives the models directions on how to pose. Sometimes, we have the same idea in mind and we just want to turn it into a concrete image. We hardly experience randomly.

What finally comes out of the camera is exactly the image and the meaning we wanted to express "a priori". Nothing is left to chance, apart from when, during the shooting, we try to let ourselves feel the emotions of the moment and enjoy the interaction with the models.

As long as the photographic image does not match the mental and soul image we do not stop working. The shootings can also be extremely long.

We take the photographs in turn, in the case of "Meat and Vegetables" we improvised as models until we managed to get the desired result.

The action is structured on a "game for two". Two minds meet and collaborate. When we realize that we are aiming for different objectives, at that point, we change roles. We understand the other's point of view and try to make other's wishes come true.

In the series "Meat and Vegetables" the photographs with male subjects were taken separately, from both. In fact, the shots have slightly different connotations. In my case (Cinzia) there is a more aggressive component while Adriana suggests a more harmonious idea.

The moment of the shooting is particularly magical and cathartic. We put our hearts and souls into the work. To pursue the work is like a mission. We think a lot of artists share this thought!

At the end of shooting, we don't feel exhausted but energized. As if we had given shape to something beautiful, previously hidden within us. We feel as if we have managed to build in synergy with others. For Post-production, we work on a "patina" even if the processing is minimal. The female subjects of the series are shot on film: subsequent processing is almost impossible. In this case, post-production is already upstream in the shot.

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