An introduction to Benedetta Montini’s poetic body of work

Italian artist Benedetta Montini‘s performance photographs lead to visual poems that are digitally accessible at the VASA exhibition, and worth pondering over.

by Georgina Maddox Published on : Feb 15, 2020

Can photography capture the dynamism of performance art? Does a still image move us in the same manner? Performance artists across the globe have been wrestling with this conundrum, of documentation, representation, and fixing in time the ephemeral nature of performance art, through the medium of art photography. One may argue that photography has a different set of aesthetics and effects upon the viewing audience, even when compared to moving, digital documentation or video art work, which is often used to document performance art or where it becomes a form of performance in and of itself. 

Addressing the issue is the work of Italian artist Benedetta Montini, who is known for her project Photoperformer. The body of work is an attempt to bring the crystallised language of the image closer to the active performance mode. Now Montini has brought her body of work to a VASA exhibition that provides the viewer with multiple entryways into her creative processes. The exhibition has been curated by Roberto Muffoletto. 

Benedetta Montini in a still from Dunce | Benedetta Montini | Photoperformer | STIRworld
Benedetta Montini in a still from Dunce Image Credit: © Benedetta Montini, courtesy of VASA

Through collages, videos and ‘photo-performances’, she addresses issues concerning the body (as a performance artist) and challenges the observer to go deeper into their reflections on personal struggles. “I am a conceptual artist who uses photography as one of many means, but I also use video, painting, collage and visual poetry. What I am looking for is above all an empathic relationship between my work and the people who look at it,” states Montini. In a sense she deconstructs the hierarchy between the mediums and brings about an interesting cross conversation between them. To quote Muffoletto about this dialogue, “Montini is not gentle with our minds or our feelings. She leads us to confront our own connections to our past and our lived anxieties. The collective work here is a performance within our own minds.”

Benedetta Montini, screen grab from the video, Dance | Benedetta Montini | Photoperformer | STIRworld
Benedetta Montini, screen grab from the video, Dance Image Credit: © Benedetta Montini, courtesy VASA

“Photoperformer is a series of self-portraits in action. This is a stylistic choice because I don't want to have perfect photos but poems as a result. I don't look at my photos before the end of the performance, so I don't know the final result of my work, only after the work is born!” writes Montini.

Montini was born in Ancona in 1975 and lives in Rome. She is an artist who uses different languages ​​of art: from performance to photography, from painting to photographic collage and video production. Her works are exhibited in the gallery The Louvre Museum by Giuseppe Casetti in Rome. She works in a studio in Porto San Giorgio (FM). A few years ago, she started a photographic project titled Photoperformer - photographing her performances with the self-timer technique.

Benedetta Montini, Empatia: Mettimi nei tuoi panni! | Benedetta Montini | Photoperformer | STIRworld
Benedetta Montini, Empatia: Mettimi nei tuoi panni! Image Credit: © Benedetta Montini, courtesy of VASA

One can look forward to interesting work from Montini. Check out the online exhibition at the VASA Journal on Images and Culture (VJIC), which has been curated by Roberto Muffoletto (USA/Austria). This online show closely follows after her exhibition at NY University of Florence, titled Woman's Clippings. One looks forward to work that will certainly push the boundaries and genres of performance from this artist.

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