Book of the Week Book of the Week: A Pick by Christian Michael Filardo Christian Michael Filardo selects Atem by Massimiliano Tommaso Rezza as Book of the Week.
"Massimiliano Tommaso Rezza’s monograph Atem is a photographic performance encapsulated in book form. Simply put, Atem is an art object that exists directly parallel to Rezza’s art practice. All the images contained within Atem, have been selected randomly from Rezza’s archive and placed into the book in an equally erratic fashion. This results in many images laying atop one another or disappearing into the gutters of the monograph. Consequently, Rezza’s book has no distinct title page, but rather a colophon and essay on the work arbitrarily lumped in amongst his visual chaos.
Some would argue that Rezza’s approach to presenting his art practice is gimmicky and overly conceptual, however, I’d be quick to disagree. Rezza goes past the borders of the traditional photograph in order to discuss concepts that are beyond the latent image. How does the way he presents his work in Atem alter our understanding of 'moment' or “memory”?
In a way, Atem is about art history. Rezza is questioning the practice of sequencing in order to question the general purpose of a photograph. How does a photograph exist within an art context when not edited down? In a way Atem becomes its own topography, turning Rezza’s life into a database constructed on chance. Thus warping the way we think about the topography of self and place.
Concept and theory aside, Rezza is also a good photographer who understands the rules of composition and is able to harness the black and white aesthetic in a hyper-contemporary way. Scattered amongst b-sides it’s easy to find a moment of genius in his practice. An ostrich pressed up against a fence, medusa’s head in the gutter, a solarized full-body portrait. Despite the fortuitous nature of the work in Atem we see a photographer’s style emerge and it’s extremely exciting.
Ultimately, I feel this book is a must-have for anyone interested in the idea of process as a practice, conceptual thoughts within the photographic arts, and contemporary Italian photography."— Christian Michael Filardo
Christian Michael Filardo is a photographer and composer living and working in Santa Fe, NM. Filardo has worked for VICE Magazine, Believer Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and is the shipping manager at photo-eye Bookstore. He is a recent recipient of an honorarium in new music from Oberlin College’s Modern Music Guild. Filardo’s first book, Say My Last Name Softly, a collaboration with Marie Claire Bryant, was released in April 2016 on Holy Page Records.
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