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Domestic Archeology
by Ofoto Gallery
Location: Ofoto Gallery
Artist(s): Daniele DAINELLI
Date: 11 Feb - 23 Mar 2012

'The Song of Andante' by Chen Haiyan.

The key word in this series by Daniele is ‘poverty’. The pictures present suffocating poverty to the extreme, which is alien to the power and prosperity that China strives to show on the international stage or the wild expansion image of China shaped by western media. As an Italian photographer, Daniele searches the origin of art with the perspective to approach the poverty in Chinese rural areas. It doesn't originate from any principle and ideology, neither is the accidental irony toward socialism caused by Michelangelo Antonioni's documentary during the Cultural Revolution in China. Nowadays, we are more open-minded to face the truth of China. We are more willing to feel the shock by art and to be moved by the ascetic monk-like artist's trace. In this respect, we shall thank Daniele for recording the contemporary rural areas in China, leaving behind all the treasures.

During the two-year photography trip, Daniele entered the environment of totally different language and culture. What's on his mind facing the poverty-stricken living conditions of the bottom people? The poor houses, randomly scattered objects, dusty daily articles, sweat mottled bed and collected broken vessels may strike Daniele's mind like a thunder, bringing about an unexplainable thrill, which he craves for photography creation. The life worn and weather beaten ‘antiques’ have been repeatedly appreciated, studied and documented in Daniele's photographic eyes until he accomplished another “Ecstasy of St Theresa" with a physical, mental and visual finish.

Perhaps we can simply define it as a typical appreciation of the ugly. Typology tends to brutally cover up the differences of individuals to make us relieved, simply because thinking brings pain and sensation weakens us. The shabbiness and poverty which we refuse to see and struggle to hide is just disaster and nightmare hurting the conscience of the age.

It takes long to recover from the injury. The broken heart is over-reversed. We hope to escape by neglect, so that we forget to see the incomparable beauty of the photographs, the quietly flowing fantastic colors: a ray of light sheltering in the dark tone, the perfect color relations unconsciously constructed and the fresh exquisite egg, etc. All these show the poor people calmly and relaxedly take the life as it is. Similarly, Daniele turns such seemingly miserable living conditions illusively into a song of andante. It's the specific context of Chinese tragedy to endure the fate by strong will and lasting hope, just like in a Chinese classic tragedy, weeping but singing. Therefore, Daniele is indeed a Chinese behind the works.

Translation: Fan Chen

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