Luciana Majoni (Cortina d’Ampezzo, 1947) explores the many facets of beauty in photographs, in which she unites formal learning with knowledge of art history.
The punctilious visual synthesis that characterises the artist’s work exalts unusual details and barely-perceptible sensations in genres ranging from landscape to portraiture and from still life to interiors. She also interrogates the work-as-object, using different printing techniques and formats, and continues on to site-specific installations and to playing with the concept of originality by intervening directly on her negatives or her prints.
In the selection of photographs presented at the Museo Novecento we see the force that has moved her research since the beginning: the beautiful, in the classical sense; aesthetics united with an ethical stance. Majoni captures and celebrates a vital, pulsing beauty that becomes a unifying principle for humanity, the natural world and art: her photographs in fact catch the crisp lightness of a head of lettuce (Kallimachos, 1, 2004), the neoclassical tenderness of a woman’s face (Volto, 2, 2004), the monumentality of a cedar tree (Natura morta con cedro [Still Life with Cedar], 2009), the impudence behind the eyes of a little girl (Alice, 2007). The exhibition path lingers on the portrait, a genre which the photographer began to approach in 1999-2000 with her Volti (Faces) series and which she investigated over the course of a decade, producing numerous variations and following various cues, from the most traditional portraits to the most lyrical of interpretations. Her images stand out for their carefully-measured blacks and whites that allow the figure, and the gaze in particular, to emerge from a background that is dark or dense with fluo effects achieved by airbrushing.