Katara-the Cultural Village, in co-operation with the Italian Embassy in Doha, inaugurated on Sunday the ‘Fish Out of Water (Pesci fuor d’acqua)’ photo gallery by acclaimed Italian photographer Carlo Rocchi Bilancini.
Katara general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti and Italian ambassador Guido De Sanctis were present at the opening.
Speaking on the occasion, the Katara general manager said the exhibition has a significant role in building cultural and artistic bridges between Qatar and Italy.
“Carlo Rocchi Bilancini has succeeded in presenting inspiring photographs and utilising water as a dominant element in them,” Dr al-Sulaiti observed.
Ambassador Guido De Sanctis said he was pleased to start the year by holding an Italian exhibition at Katara. “I hope this co-operation will lead to holding other events throughout the year,” he said.
A total of 20 portraits are displayed in the exhibition curated by Manuela De Leonardis. In each picture – unexpected, theatrical and surprising – the sitter seems to bloom in the water.
“Water is my natural element,” explained Rocchi Bilancini. “It gives me a sense of peace and well-being, calms my neuroses and obsessions. It’s no coincidence that I’m a Pisces: I love everything that’s fluid and adaptable, maintaining its identity while changing form. I love the bright colours, turquoise and deep blue, of water. I have also been influenced by the theories of Otto Rank. In his book, The Trauma of Birth, every human being suffers the most intense trauma of his or her life at birth, one from which he or she never completely recovers; this is why we all wish to return to the womb. Through this lens, we see that every type of anxiety can be nothing other than a repetition of the anxiety experienced at birth. In much the same way, every pleasure we experience is a repetition of that first pleasure, that of floating inside the body of our mother. In some sense, the swimming pool must represent a great sac, and the subjects of these photographs – immersed in a type of amniotic liquid – must have enjoyed a pre-birth experience, a return to Eden.”
Rocchi Bilancini has been working on Pesci fuor d’acqua (Fish out of Water) since 2006, when he began photographing characters from the ancient city of Todi and the surrounding area. Each individual is completely immersed in water, fully clothed, and some are depicted holding the tools of their trade.
Between 2006 and 2011, when Skira published the series as a photographic monograph with accompanying texts by Federico Sardella, Antonia Mulas, Malcolm Bull and Brian O’Doherty, Rocchi Bilancini shot more than 50 colour photographs. Many show figures from the art and entertainment worlds, among them Marina Ripa di Meana, Lindsay Kemp and Pino
Pesci fuor d’acqua has previously been exhibited in 2012, in collaboration with the Fondazione Giorgio Cini in the exhibition space La Piscina on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, during the XIII Architectural Bienniale (curated by ?iva Kraus and promoted by Umberto Morera); in 2013 at the Oratorio of Sant’Antonio, Torgiano (Perugia) and in 2014 at the Acta International Gallery in Rome (curated by Manuela De Leonardis).
Photographer Bilancini (third left) is seen with Dr al-Sulaiti, ambassador De Sanctis and other dignitaries at the opening of the exhibition at Katara.