Sara Lorusso (Bologna, 1995) studied photography at Spazio Labò and she is currently attending a photography, film and television course in the Academy of Fine Arts. Her artistic research, ranging from the analogical image to installations that stimulate the interaction of the viewer, investigates the multiple possibilities of communication and misunderstanding generated by the new multimedia languages and the ways in which their widespread presence in everyday life conditions our experiences and perceptions. Feeling perfectly comfortable, like most millennials, in the sophisticated dynamics of the network and digital manipulation, at the same time she manages to estrange from the continuous flow of telematic information to critically analyze and grasp the semantic implications underlying the operating logic of the technologies through which they are conveyed. It is not therefore a matter of plotting hypothetical contrapositions between reality and virtuality, natural and artificial, but to identify some key concepts of digital society to bring them back to an existential matrix that remains despite all profoundly human and to highlight the symptoms of their persistent incarnation also in the most aseptic appearance of the 2.0 aesthetics. For this reason, therefore, there is no conceptual and operational disconnect between the traditional and interactive media that characterizes Lorusso’s artistic practice, as both reflect the same impalpable fluidity of our times with particular attention to the youthful experiential and emotional sphere.
In the shot series entitled About Sexuality (2015-2016) made with a kodak 200 color plus, the artist investigates the complex female sensitivity in the delicate moment of post-adolescence, when the body manifests its erotic and aesthetic potential to become a social body exposed to conditioning, forcing and comparisons that in the era of social sharing are even more invasive and destabilizing. The compositions, wrapped in a soft natural twilight, present intimate and emotional details of the physicality of the artist associated with flowers, fruits and plants that overlap her sexual attributes, amplifying their sphere of influence with calibrated morphological and chromatic similarities. The shots, which are able to be simultaneously explicit and delicate, explore the theme of biological identity and its representation emphasizing what we still tend to hide because it is considered taboo and that for this reason is likely to become easy merchandise of media exchange.
It is also based on procedures of visual analogy and semantic difference the project Search for yourself on the net presented last June in Localedue in Bologna by Irene Angenica and Francesca Manni. In that case the visitors were invited to post a selfie on the net that portrayed them while they were performing certain actions by associating their image with a series of objects prepared by the artist, similar in shape and color but different in function and scope of use. The photo thus obtained became the fulcrum of a search screen of google images that gathered the voices resulting from the typing of the same keyword, projecting the portrait into an infinite series of different repetitions in which the individual identity of the subjects is dispersed in a sea of random affinities which are often lacking in consequentiality. The estrangement generated by these mosaics of heterogeneous virtual conformity emphasizes how human rationality differs from the logics that govern the functioning of the software that make up his cognitive prostheses, suggesting very contemporary reflections about their mutual compatibility and sustainability.
The relational implications of virtuality are investigated by the Welcome to my life project, recently presented by Irene Angenica and Davide Da Pieve in the spaces of Porto dell’Arte, experimental home gallery created to encourage and support young artists through site-specific exhibition in an inhabited apartment located in the middle of Manifattura delle Arti in Bologna. Called to deal with a private living space, Lorusso decides to investigate the labile border between sharing and intimacy by providing visitors with her mobile phone and leaving them free to interact with her memories and contacts. The experiment recalls, with the necessary epochal updates, the performance carried out by Marina Abramovic in Naples in 1974, when she decided to remain immobile for six hours at the mercy of the public invited by a written message to freely use on her 72 objects placed on a table, some harmless like feathers, flowers and water and other potentially dangerous, like guns, knives or razors. In a short time the initial shyness of the bystanders degenerated into an intensification of violence, culminating in the gesture of someone who put the gun in her hand pointing it at the throat. The aim of the artist was to show how easy it is to dehumanize a person who does not struggle to defend his boundaries and how in special circumstances even the so-called “normal” people can become unexpectedly aggressive.
None of this happened at the Bologna event, which took place in a protected situation shared with people more or less directly known and trusted, but the installation of Sara Lorusso still manages to suggest disturbing scenarios of gender abuse and acts of cyberbullying, similar to those that emerge as causes of some disturbing episodes of news, reflecting on the dynamics that generate them and on how internet and social networks have changed the balance of power between people, amplifying and filing their action. So it becomes inevitable to wonder what would have happened if the phone had been exposed in a truly public and out of control place and how much these virtual interferences would have affected Sara’s real life if there had not been a way of warning her contacts of the intrusion. Besides creating a strong dialectic contrast between the communicative / connective function of the cell phone and its opposite value as a contemporary secret diary and catalog of experiences, the work insists on the delicate intersection between the natural desire of an individual to build his own identity, the need to strengthen it through self-representation and the subsequent slippage of the latter into “promotional” approving practices that end up contradicting individuality.
Sara Lorusso, Sulla Sessualità, 2015-2016
Sara Lorusso, Sulla Sessualità, 2015-2016
Sara Lorusso, Search for yourself on the net, 2017, installation view at Localedue
Sara Lorusso, Search for yourself on the net, 2017
Sara Lorusso, Welcome to my Life, 2017, metallic pedestal, smartphone, installation view at Porto dell’Arte ph Flavio Pacino
Sara Lorusso, Welcome to my life, 2017, digitalized photos, installation view at Porto dell’Arte, ph Flavio Pacino