Interview: “5 John + 1″

“5 John + 1″

Landscape Stories: Let’s start with a question about 5 John… John Cassavetes, John Fante, John Lurie, John Baldessarri and John Fahey. How much a certain american (counter)culture has given a form and nourished your photographic research?
Sabrina Ragucci: I might add John to your list! You’ve arranged these in the order i met them in high school as if they were my friends. The first was John Cassavetes with Shadows. I was interested in Cassavetes not so much from a visual standpoint, but from an existential and literary one. Even today I remember some epiphanic scenes because it seems it does not happen anything special. For example, in A Woman Under Influence, the scene where Mabel (Gena Rowlands) is jumping and waiting for the bus that brings home her children from school, or the moment when, in the sand pit, the colleagues of Mabel’s husband, Nick (Peter Falk), are leaving together to the couple’s house, to celebrate the release from the psychiatric hospital of the woman. In those trucks that leave shrouded in dust, there is a simple and painful exaltation. I’ve always loved film and photography that reveal, without the need of striking gesture and mythical scene. About John Fante: I preferred John Cheever. His writing was crossed by the light, even when he was narrating grave stories, there was always a gap, which was not consolation, but the need, somehow, to move forward.

Landscape Stories: How important was for you to enhance a cultural imaginary through art, literature and cinema?
Sabrina Ragucci: Aware that questions rarely relieve anxiety.

Landscape Stories: Photography can be documentation, description, narrative, allegory… In your opinion how important it is for a photography to hide evidence, to be allusive or to have a strong element of ambiguity?
Sabrina Ragucci: Photography works in this way: it hides evidence, it speaks to those who already know. Quoting Barthes, the photograph does not hide but doesn’t speak. For this reason artists use it as if it were a sculpture. What remains is an object. What interests me is when it reveals, makes real the reality and says something about itself.

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Interview curated by Gianpaolo Arena
Translation curated by Sergio Tranquilli