Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

On photography and archeology

Apr 28, 2020 - Giulia Parlato

On the 15th of February Revolv Collective hosted “Forms of Ground” at Seen Fifteen Gallery; a series of mini-symposiums considering photography’s ability to manifest through process, light and time. Me and Giovanna Petrocchi were in conversation with Ibrahim Azab talking about archeology and photography. 


Giovanna’s and my practices are very close. We are both interested in artefacts and in reimagining the past. We started collaborating not long ago, when Artlicks  Magazine commissioned us for issue 25 “With Monocrome Eyes” curated by Tom Lovelace and Holly Willats. Through working with Giovanna, I discovered how exciting collaborating with another artist can be, especially when you share similar interests. 


We are both Italian artists coming from places filled with archeological sites and museums, ancient buildings and a complex urban stratification. Being surrounded by these ruins, sharing the same collective memories and the same academic background, had an impact in the way we look at photography and create work.


Archeology and photography both turn to the past and one follows the purpose of the other:  to seek a historical truth by putting together material fragments and preserving them.  The strong link between the two means of investigation begins from their birth in the 19th century. 


The fact that photography was initially considered a medium of documentation and scientific truthfulness, made it a forensic means of excellence. Archeological photography and crime scene images are constructed in the same way. They follow specific rules wanting to be clear, organised and objective. The aim is to find traces of a story that has already taken place and arrive at a resolution. Nonetheless, this resolution is going to be partial. 


The fascination of images lies in their incompleteness. The characteristic of the photographs is precisely that of concealment. What haunts me in photography is the analysis of such incompleteness, which in the scientific image reaches its most paradoxical and intriguing form. In my work, I talk about this absence and I enjoy doing so using a pseudoscientific language, mixing reality and fantasy.


Above: Diachronicles by Giulia Parlato
Below: Collateral Histories by Giulia Parlato & Giovanna Petrocchi