With a career spanning four decades, the innovative and research-driven approach of eclectic photographer Toni Meneguzzo takes centre stage in a new exhibition in Milan. Toni Meneguzzo: Diptych presented by 29 Arts In Progress gallery, explores the two distinct styles that define the Italian image-maker's career, juxtaposing his analogue Polaroids with digital landscapes. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Meneguzzo was a fixture in fashion magazines like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar with his large size Polaroids (20 x 25cm) making it his signature. Known for his irreverent techniques including the use of thread, mirrors, and pigments along with light manipulation, he produced airy, dreamlike imagery defined by its distinct feminine elegance.
While these light-washed still lifes, feminine nudes, and intimate portraits defined his work for the glossy pages, his recent foray into digital landscapes explores the photographer’s evolving creative vision. From his more recent series Causa/Effetto (Cause/Effect), Meneguzzo’s abstract landscapes inject scenes of natural wonder with elements of mysticism through his use of vivid light and tinted smoke screens. Flipping notions of static landscape photography on its head, the photographer skillfully captures the randomness of nature and creates unique instances that can’t be replicated. ‘The wind, transcendental beauty, artifice and effective executor take possession of the coloured powders and deftly arrange them in the chosen landscapes, achieving an execution of an unrepeatable aesthetic pathos’ the artist explains.
Curated by gallerist Giovanni Pelloso, the show comprises over 60 works across the artist’s expansive career. More than a presentation on Meneguzzo’s duality, both of the presented mediums highlight how unconventional techniques and notions of randomness are utilised in enhancing the subject. With both of these well-defined eras of his career, the photographer gives himself up to the process, of finding beauty in chance. With the self-developing nature of Polaroids, you’re never truly in control of the final image, while the abstract compositions of his landscapes rely on uncontrollable elements to manipulate natural pigments. Viewers are left to contemplate the progression of the artist as the exhibit bridges the two distinct formats as well as draw parallels between the similarities of those early and more recent works.
Toni Meneguzzo: Diptych opens to the public from 20 September until 19 November at 29 Arts in Progress gallery on Via San Vittore 13 in Milan.