Critics’ Picks

Monica Carocci, NuvoleAlte, 2021, inkjet print, 23 1/2 x 15 3/4".

Monica Carocci, NuvoleAlte, 2021, inkjet print, 23 1/2 x 15 3/4".


Monica Carocci

Francesca Antonini Arte Contemporanea
Via di Capo le Case, 4
April 15–June 5, 2021

Since the 1990s, Monica Carocci’s medium has been analog black-and-white photography. But during the Italy’s March 2020 lockdown, she was unable to go to her studio to continue the series she was working on. Stuck at home, she started using a digital infrared Nikon, which rendered the “domestic” nature of fresh-cut tulips, calla lilies, and poppies in absurd cyan, gray, and pink tones. Later, when Italy shut down again last winter, she wandered alone through an empty Turin, thermally imaging its overgrown parks and the banks of the Po. The resulting landscapes describe a postapocalyptic world where everything is reversed and defamiliarized: perspectives, trees, foliage, water, reflections. Here, there is no turning back: A bomb has already exploded, leaving us with a radioactive wilderness, a silence in which the echo of daily life vanishes. The colors are cold and eerie, as if the blood had been sucked out of the collective body; the earth crackles with an unsettling phosphorescence. Looking at the water and the city upside down through a tangle of dry branches and leaves, Carocci conveys a feeling widely shared during lockdown: that we had the possibility to look at life outside, but not to participate in it; that we were no longer protagonists, but spectators. In this way, her unconsoling lens not only captures the invisible forces that animate our environment, but also the distortion and deception that could be said to characterize human nature.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.