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Massimo Vitali is lauded for his panoramas of crowded Italian beaches, where masses congregate to partake in the modern ritual of a self-aware exhibitionism and consumerism. Vitali explores these holiday beaches as sites of performativity, the stage upon which one can observe, in the artist’s own words, “the inner conditions and disturbances of normality: its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodified leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism.” All of Vitali’s photographs are shot from an elevated vantage, according the viewer an unprecedented level of detachment from the human condition. Without any focal point, every element in the frame is equally diminished, thereby rendering the identity and activity of each individual trivial and uniform while highlighting their inane sameness. Anonymous persons serve as pictorial, rather than subjective, points of interest across the picture plane, each congregation a sample in Vitali’s survey of modern life and its pretensions. The deliberate flatness of each image begets a collective portraiture as a landscape, colliding genres to reveal a nuanced sensibility that is both anthropological and artistic.
Born in Como, Italy in 1944, Vitali worked as a photojournalist and cinematographer before embarking on a fine art practice in 1995. His sophisticated oeuvre found rapid success in the international art scene, making an appearance at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001. Having exhibited at countless museums and institutions, Vitali’s work can be found in the collections of the Guggenheim Museum, New York; Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris; Fondation Cartier, Paris; Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Autostadt-Volkswagen collection; Deutsche Bank Collection; AT&T Corporate Collection; Sir Elton John Photography Collection, Atlanta; Metropolitan Bank Trust Photography collection; Stedelijk Museum, Netherlands; Linz Museum, Austria; Arken Museum, Denmark. His transgressive images have an appeal that extends beyond the realm of fine art, and have been published in the most prominent magazines of various genres, including the New York Times Magazine, W Magazine, National Geographic, L'Officiel, Flash Art, Le Monde, Arena and Numero. The artist lives and works in Berlin and Lucca, Italy.
Image: Source Twitter - Courtesy of the Artist
LITERATURE ON MASSIMO VITALI