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  •  REVIEW: LUIGI CAZZANIGA

    Flower Jungle in Luigi Cazzaniga
    Flower Jungle

    Multiple exposs

    2002-2004 photographs on exhibit at Connors/Rosato Gallery show the panoramic view from Luigi Cazzaniga's camera.

    By JEFFREY CYPHERS WRIGHT
    Offoffoff.com

    What does Luigi Cazzaniga have in common with Leonardo Davinci? They're both Italian... and they both cover a lot of territory. Within his domain of photography, Cazzaniga is a restless explorer for whom invention and tradition go hand in hand.

      
    LUIGI CAZZANIGA
    Exhibition: 02-04 photographs.
    Works by: Luigi Cazzaniga.
     SCHEDULE
    September 30 - October 21, 2004

    Gallery: Connors-Rosato Gallery
    39 Great Jones St.
    New York NY
    Hours: Monday-Friday 10-5
    Phone: (212) 473-0377

    Normally, retrospective and recent are oxymoronic. Cazzaniga mines familiar territory and gives it stylish pizzazz in such a variety of ways that each of the dozen or so mini-series in the show could have been the beginning of a whole show. From the portly Sicilian matron parked on a skinny bench, to a potpourri of flower bursts in fuchsia and aqua, to a series of "portraits" of very blue skies — Cazzaniga manages to find a bull's eye each time — with different subjects and strategies.

    Known for his fashion photography with credits in Italian Vogue and Glamour, Cazzaniga's photos of one model in a dazzling array of attire — are shot from behind. And in a related tangent, some of the Rococo flower collages could have been fabric designs for splashy evening wear on Caribbean islands. The glamour is tempered by a light but sure touch.

    Cazzaniga is able to capture isolated moments of candid familiarity, as in his green series. We see groups of people, ranging from a good-looking family to a quartet of guys jibing and jiving on a park bench. "The concept was that when people group together, they do it in certain formations that reappear all the time like ducks flying." As if rivaling our archetypal patterning, the flora hints at disconcerting aggression. Imbued with a nightvisionesque green, a green that seems benign but alive with portent, these slightly blurry time exposures express constancy while evoking the passage of time.

    Spanish Curtains in Luigi Cazzaniga  
    Spanish Curtains
      
    In another kind of time exposure, Cazzaniga catches the peregrinations of a moth to create an abstract formula or half-erased epitaph. The black and white whirr of wings is too abbreviated to be recognizable or to read — but they remain exquisite marks made by nature and they imply a message.

    Moving from style to style with typical Latin sprezzazura, Cazzaniga also offered his paean to Impressionism, although he was actually thinking of Alex Katz. In "Charlie's Pond" the artist conjures up a scene worthy of Monet, replete with a water lily. "I was inspired by works of Alex Katz and I went to visit Janet Fish and Charles Parness in Vermont and took pictures of their pond," says Cazzaniga.

    "Another thing I do recently I call reconstruction, as opposed to deconstruction, meaning that I feel the need to intervene digitally to complete an image, not to make a special effect or a collage...the camera doesn't let me record all that I see or that I want to see, so sometimes I take many photos of the same object and then construct an image. An example is the picture of the Spanish curtains that is made of two shots."

    "Spanish Curtains" is instantly alluring. The black and white film and elongated horizontal frame accent an emotional expectation. One gazes at the picture of pellucid curtains and peers through to the obscured buildings across the street. Reading from the center to the left, the eye is led to a slim parting of the curtains and we can see three windows line up. The viewer takes refuge in this welcome detail, wondering who lives in those rooms. Indeed, who lives in the room we are looking out from? A jealous matador? A boy who plays the piccolo? A proud widow? Cazzaniga is happiest supplying a Romantic compendium of possibilities and in this show he has succeeded in his ambition most intriguingly.

    OCTOBER 17, 2004
    OFFOFFOFF.COM • THE GUIDE TO ALTERNATIVE NEW YORK


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