Aldo Fallai - Photographer
Aldo Fallai: From Giorgio Armani to Renaissance
"I am pleased that my photographs can be identified beyond their style for their special vision", says Aldo Fallai . A vision that grasps or captures the right moment. This is exactly what the observer feels visiting this exhibition in Florence that illustrates Fallai’s creative career with around 180 photographs, mostly in the Armani colors (white, grey, sand).
“An itinerary among his photos and his personal researches, all connected with a sense of art that is part of Fallai’s own sensibility, and that leads naturally from Armani and fashion to Renaissance”, suggests Martina Corgnati, art historian and curator of the exhibition. Images allow the visitor to rediscover the excellence of Italian fashion at its most innovative hour: the 80s, when Giorgio Armani invented an elegant and vaguely androgynous woman and a man with a sophisticated look, at times transgressive and at times narcissistic.
Together, Armani and Fallai, created some of the most important advertising campaigns of recent decades, thus underwriting some very interesting chapters in the history of Made in Italy, proposing a new, modern style, though still connected to the great tradition of Italian art. Giorgio Armani didn’t follow any of the dominant models, but proposed others, new and different, for example using for women soft fabrics, straighter lines, jackets and suits, wide and comfy pants in sober and restrained colors. Armani’s man and woman were young, good-looking, but at the same time unconventional, free and playing the lead roles in their own lives. It happened that Fallai managed to narrate them.
He took models and made them pose in gardens, streets, anywhere as long as it was real, with the captivation of dream landscapes, flaunting a lifestyle that is desirable but also possible. “While creating fashion images, I take a sort of" freedom", as advertising is thought to sell, but I'm there, within the photo. That scene has to be just like this, because it's something useful, but it also tells a moment of life. And I want images to have both of these features", Fallai says.
He probes the photographic language in search of different effects, ranging from blurred atmospheres, with a sophisticated sfumato effect that makes the figure almost impalpable, to strong, direct lighting and austere black and white, to define a hard, sculptural style that appears close to the avant-garde cinema.
"Perhaps he was the first photographer who dealt with men and children in fashion photography”, Corgnati says."He focused on common people and not just models, telling of the new social challenges: women (and aspirational models) for example are no longer superstar, but real women, businesswomen, expressing the new freedom of the model of life in the eighties”. Playing with roles and situations, Aldo Fallai reconstructed a world that goes beyond the garment to portray an entire society and a generation. A world in which people always counted enormously. He photographs “a woman, with her character, her personality, even her age. He allows her to move, to do, to act. He watches for the emergence of some little imperfection that rips the veil of an imaginary perfection.”, Corgnati adds.
The exhibition allows us to discover the creations and the interests of the artist in fashion and beyond, that is in the direction of the visual arts which – for a Florentine such as Fallai – have always represented the most natural context and sources of inspiration.If you add, as Fallai says, that his training includes the Art Institute and that he loved art since he was a child, the particular aesthetics of his images is not a surprise.
Carlo Sisi, art historian and curator of the exhibition, stresses how Fallai’s photographs offer “multiple horizons for the reading of costume and of beauty, since they operate on the model in order to draw forth cues at times formal, at times introspective, and at times suggesting analogies with the inexhaustible resources of the Italian figurative culture. Fallai explores these relations between the real and the cultured imagination when he clearly cites the masters of the past”.
“Studying art gave me a sense of form within the compositional process and the consciousness of the particular meaning of central figures, referring to the Renaissance humanism, which considered man the center of the universe”, Fallai says.
Over the last years, famous paintings such as Pontormo’s Deposition in Santa Felicita, Florence “have become pretexts for reinterpretation of an ironic slant which, focusing on a strong and deep color, produces effects of dramatic intensity that has set a new style. The result is an odd short-circuit of past and present, as if, all of a sudden, the ancient, Renaissance or Mannerist work of art retrieves an unhoped for actuality; it is catapulted out of the museum to become the legitimate interlocutor of a taste that is specifically Italian.The dialogue between past and present goes on with portraits, inspired by the world of the Renaissance. They are part of the projects Fallai is carrying out for the Istituto Marangoni, one of the most important fashion schools in Italy with branches in Europe and China. They are close-ups which allow the gaze isolated from the body to shine out”, Corgnati says.
The exhibition, curated by the art historians Martina Corgnati and Carlo Sisi, formerly director of the Gallery of Modern Art of Palazzo Pitti, with Luigi Salvioli, AD of Oltre la moda Immagine e comunicazione, has been presented within the framework of the 85th edition of Pitti Uomo. It is promoted by Palazzo Vecchio with the sponsorship of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, the collaboration of Fondazione Parchi Monumentali Bardini e Peyron, Istituto Marangoni and LineaPiù.
The images are on display in two venues: in Villa Bardini, fashion photos and advertising campaigns (almost thirty years of creative symbiosis with Giorgio Armani); the itinerary continues in the Museo Bardini with the Renaissance section curated by the director Antonella Nesi.
Frock n' Roll
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