Visions of the dark: Italian artist Marta Blue on photography, fashion and art in conversation with Maria Abramenko.
You have showed your works in Les Rencontres de la Photographie Arles, one of Europe most important European events dedicated to photography, what series of works was it and what can you tell us about the whole experience?
Les Rencontres de la Photographie is a great experience. Last year I won one of the FreshEyes contests, the first book on Emerging Talents in Europe promoted by Gup magazine, with the “Darkness is colourful” series. I a ended the event during the Voies Off Festival in Arles, an event a ended by emerging photographers from all over the world, who exhibit during the event. At the same time I exhibited at the Galerie des Arènes with the same series, but with another curator. It was a traveling show that lasted all summer (also in Milan). Les Rencontres de la Photographie is one of the most important events dedicated to photography in Europe, and for me it was truly the springboard in contemporary photography among top-level talents. My imagination and my mind were strongly stimulated by the territory also. Art was everywhere and expectations were very high, so I opted for a liberating approach by letting my mind absorb as much as possible. Not to mention that Yael Naim took a selfie with one of my photographs, it was surreal.
What is your educational background and how would you connect it to your current style in photography?
I graduated in communication sciences and I have always worked as an art director. Although I always thought it was a creative job, for me in reality it was very different. Until last year I kept changing jobs because I always had very high expectations regarding my career, over time I realised that it was not the right job for me. So if I were to link my educational background to my photographic style, I would say that it is currently a reflection of my emotional satisfaction. I can’t judge my work, the perception that I have of my works is constantly evolving. However, I have very specific style trends that will become more and more stronger over me. I am an introverted and hyperactive person, with interests ranging from cinema to history, from esotericism to psychology, and I try to bring all this into my works. I tend to have a dark style for character inclination but I’m trying to get closer to a more cinematic style, even in the commissioned works. It is not easy but when they give me the opportunity to express myself in total freedom it is truly gratifying.
What is your opinion about art and fashion photography? Is there any difference and why?
Personally, I do not think there is such a wide gap between art and fashion photography, although at the moment I see the theme as a nucleus undergoing experimentation.
There are photographers who greatly value the technical aspect, leaving out the concept. And then there are photographers who have an unmistakable style, whether they do fashion photography or still life, where stand not out the technique, but the power of the idea, the audacity. However, I find it very complicated at this time to emerge in the world of art, so you must make sure you maintain a rigorous style that also fits the job market. The best thing would be to be able to merge one’s art with trends, avoiding the danger of becoming homologated with the mass, risking to go unnoticed. But this is by no means simple.
Some visual contemporary artists you are inspired by?
Alex Prager and Gregory Crewdson, because I believe they perfectly represent the dramas of our generation. And that’s why they generate a very high level of interest, at least in my head. Because they are able to represent the narration of everyday life, combining a great emotional component with surreal and disturbing scenarios. They manage to communicate through a contemporary language that is absolutely simple, because familiar. In general, cinema is my first source of inspiration, from the visual intensity of the Coen brothers and Wim Wenders, to the rigour of perfection by Wes Anderson. A very strong attraction towards painting remains muted, especially towards the Pre-Raphaelites, nothing contemporary but most important for me, that I will try to include in my future works.
What are your future plans?
Mentally I feel little disoriented now. I always like to have a clear and precise plan but at the moment it is not possible. I am trying to carry out all the ongoing projects but mainly I am working on a new project that I would like to present next year in Asia. It is the documentation of an introspective experimentation path, with clear conceptual links to dreams, hypnosis, magic and death. Perhaps a more documentary experiment, but full of fantastic and historical references. Apart from the open work projects that I had to block during the pandemic period, I really feel the need to change places, and in the near future I would like to be able to confront myself with new lifestyles and new cultures. I am now with great care accustoming my body to calm and rationality, which is inexplicably leading my mind to develop an incredible amount of new ideas.