Photography Claire Clelia Baldo
LABOTIV is a laboratory of photographic projects initiated by Piero Viti and Claire Clelia Baldo. The seats are in Venice and Paris.
LABOTIV debuts on the international scene of art photography with the project FATICA (2017). This project is the foundation of the artistic and professional collaboration that the two photographers have started in 2016 and responds to the idea of restoring the climate of cultural and social events portraying their actors.
To capture the essence of people and places through a photographic mutual work of “reflection” is indicative of the aesthetic research of LABOTIV, aiming to express a creative duality by virtue of personal languages and styles which are already fine-tuned.
CLAIRE CLELIA BALDO (Rome, 1974)
Photography Piero Viti
Claire Clelia Baldo’s path is divided between Italy and France. Her first experiences are in Rome. She approached art, architecture and cinema already at a very young age, thanks to her father who is an architect, the film and production designer Antonello Geleng, the multifaceted artist Erika Rossi, the sculptor Mimmo Pesce, the encounter with masters such as Federico Fellini and Milo Manara. Once in Paris, where she went to live with her mother who is a painter, the influence of the writer Hubert Haddad and photographer David Mohror will prove to be equally decisive for her artistic growth.
In the years of her formative training, Claire Baldo sharpens the need to understand humanity, the value of the dream, what it means to evade intimately from the self, the desire for travelling that later lead her to sojourn for long periods in Africa and Asia.
To live split between two worlds always involves a certain grade of instability and a condition of loneliness, which is also inside, in the deeper self. The artist looks at the reality perceptually, reassembles it sensitively and transcribes it outwardly in image, as if always looking for that ideal moment to stop at least for a little while and recognize who she is and from where.
The early development of compositional language fuelled by visions and insights to depict the reality trying to define her own sense of belonging that always slips away, to store and recall past experiences to recognize them as such, placing them in space and time and then incorporating them in the photographic image, they become signs of Claire Baldo’s urgency: to shape the meaning of her own identity, relying on the systematic but poetic use of the fragment.
The choice of the black and white, glazes and contrasts, the apparent abstraction of forms, the spaces of the female body caught in the vicinity of its essence that seem drawn in graphite or sketched in India ink, reveal a quality of the real returned through an oneiric transmutation process. As for an alchemist, time is always the key factor to this transmutation. The image that emerges from the subconscious is shaped thoroughly by the mind when the waiting is prolonged, allowing the artist to observe it in all its details and structure it scenically to finally give it to the world as a work of art.
In the photographic practice of Claire Baldo this process is carried out because of a patient construction of an alphabet made of lines and complex forms long meditated, where symbolist influences of painters and designers such as Odilon Redon, Windsor McCay, Heinrich Kley, but also of poets and film masters such as Jean Cocteau, Orson Welles and Peter Greenaway, transpire.
Before earning a diploma in fine arts at the University of Paris-VIII (2000), Claire Baldo attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and studied stage design at the “Cours Florent” in Paris. She specialized in graphic design and taught it for several years in the French capital. She refined her skills in stage design and playwriting in London (2008-11) and open the studios of graphic design Claire-Obscur (2001-11), Metacrea (2012-14, with designer Chris Hanke) and Mementika (from 2014). She collaborated with photographers Patrick Bouvier (2001; 2014-16) and the aforementioned David Mohror.
In 2016 she moved to Venice where she met the photographer Piero Viti with whom she founded LABOTIV.
PIERO VITI (Venice, 1965)
Photography Claire Clelia Baldo
By his father Luciano, renowned philatelist, Piero Viti inherits not only the passion of collecting, but especially the disciplined attention to details, the care for the particular, concentrating the sight through the apparent configuration of things, the meditated precise observation of reality as well as its images, where the eye becomes a means to scan as a microscope the most intimate folds of everything that it meets.
The constant practice of sports that require a high level of concentration– at first artistic gymnastics, then martial arts and scuba diving, as well as having had to undergo repeated surgeries to avoid wear and tear on his joints subjected to extreme physical stresses, bring him over time to develop a growing interest in the knowledge of the human body and its limits, which later on will find its raison d’être in his art.
Driven by his attitude for drawing, Piero Viti attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice (1984-85). He approached theatre to learn the Commedia dell’Arte, the psychology of its characters, the movements and facial expressions of the Zanni on stage, to the point that photographer Marco Bertin chose him as the Harlequin for his refined and controversial book Carnaval (1994), unquestionably one of the most exemplary volumes dedicated to the Venetian event.
As a graphic designer, Viti’s working experiences are with Franco Giacometti at Studio Camuffo in Venice (1985-1989) and agency DPZ in Brazil (1989). Back in Venice, he founds the magazine of culture and politics Nexus, together with Giovanni di Stefano and Andrea Pagnes (1993). In 1998, after his meeting with Pier Luigi Cerri, he collaborated to design the inaugural exhibition at Palazzo Grassi dedicated to the Fenici, thus contributing to the great architectural renovation project entrusted to Gae Aulenti. He continued to work in Verona on numerous projects to promote the image of events until the end of the nineties, before devoting himself exclusively to photography.
From his Venetian observatories – Rialto, San Marco, and today the island of Giudecca, Piero Viti has learned to feel the soul of the people, to reveal their depths in the moment of a shot.
Hence, if at the beginning was the line, the talented designer always fascinated by the features of the human faces as if they were proper landscapes, in his mature years Piero Viti selects the camera as his means of expression, as if it concentrates all the necessary tools to the artist, allowing him at the same time an immediate thus endless exploration of the human.
Both in the use of colour and black and white photography, Piero Viti also reserves special attention to shadows and lights, which tell of its sources of greatest inspiration: Titian, Caravaggio and Flemish masters Van Dyck and Vermeer, confirming its deep concern in the pictorial composition and resulting fruition of the photographic image. Ultimately, his photographs leave little room for concessions and hedonistic speculations. The subjects and models of his portraits ignore the glamor of fashion clichés. Rather, as in a painting by Rembrandt, they are offered in their cracks and imperfections, therefore as if revealing the secret of the subject’s experience. Even when clothes and objects that populate the background are designed and chosen with extreme care, it’s just to get to the hundred twenty-fifth of a second, that moment when the factor of the unpredictable becomes crucial.