What is the strange connection between Manchester photographer Natalie Curtis and Colapesce Dimartino?
It all comes from the latest exhibition by Curtis, a Mancunian conceptual photographer, entitled «Because I Want Nothing’»scheduled at the Gallery Moon Grove of Manchester.
The title of the exhibition takes inspiration from the text of “Musica Leggerissima” by Colapesce Dimartino.
A bizarre intersection which however leads to an unexpected common thread that links the photographer with Italy.
The art magazine Hestetika has dedicated this month’s digital cover to Natalie and her photographic atmospheres.
Here is the interview.
Your photographs are glimpses of your life. Dark, ephemeral and often ethereal images, where the characters are always in the background, in the shadow, not well defined. Can you tell us how your creative process began?
I often create a mental list of things I want to do: maybe visit a place or go on a trip.
Sometimes I’m still surprised by something I hadn’t thought of at all.
When I shoot you need to wait a long time for the right moment and be ready to seize the moment that surprises you. Once taken it is important to decide how to treat and materialize what you have
caught. Very often I like to put the work aside and let it settle. Often a lot of time passes between the realization of a photography project and the decision of what to do with it. I always have more projects on the go.
In your latest exhibition in Manchester «Because I Want Nothing’» the title is inspired by the song of the Italian duo Colapesce Dimartino «Musica leggissima». How did you find out about this song and why did you choose it?
I learned about the song through my boyfriend. He’s Italian and, while I’m learning the language, he
he suggests music and radio to listen to.
It was in my mind because I heard it playing in 2021, the year the photos were taken, so when considering ideas for the title, I looked at the translation of the lyrics on Google and “Because I Want Nothing” want for nothing” perfectly fit what I was trying to convey.
Your works focus on moving between places and non-places. What specific details are there in a place you are trying to represent?
Above all I try to represent the atmosphere of a place, its mood and also the light, or lack of light, whatever it is or is not doing.
Prefer printing in small formats, almost like icons and relics. How did this stylistic choice come about?
I love the intimacy you feel when looking at the smallest works, it makes them precious. Then the fact that you have to get closer to see them better and I really like this.
We are living in a period of general disillusionment. Wars and climatic and social emergencies are dismantling the illusions and visions of being able to create a better world. Can art and more generally culture still contribute to a change of direction or is it all just a great utopia?
I’m not sure I can contribute to change in any way. But I think art and culture can be an important respite from the woes of the world.
In your opinion, should art and culture in general have a political role? And if so which one?
I don’t think art and culture should do anything.
What is your opinion on Artificial Intelligence and can it be a resource or a risk for art and culture?
I don’t think I’m informed enough to give an opinion. However I imagine it could be both an asset and a risk.
Can you tell us the five key words that define your art?
I struggle to define my work, but there are definitely two elements that are always present in my work: being calm and meditative.
Who are your favorite artistic references?
My absolute favorites are Daido Moriyama and Duane Michals.
The last exhibition you visited?
I recently went to the British Museum. of London, have a large collection of prints and drawings; there is almost always something on display and so every time I go to London I stop by to have a look.
I particularly liked the work of Carl-Heinz Wegert and also Ed Ruscha with his imaginary “Los Francisco San Angeles” maps.
Here is a list to see
• Gesture and line: four post-war German and Austrian artists
• Superb line: prints and drawings from Genoa 1500-1800
• The genius of nature: botanical drawings by Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues
• Ed Ruscha: roads and insects
Have you ever thought about having an exhibition in Italy?
Obviously! I am doing my best to make this happen in the near future.
Are you a collector? If so of what?
In the last year or so, I have seen the works of two artists and have wanted to take them home with me and they are Mary Herbert and Katelyn Eichwald.
Natalie Curtis was born in Macclesfield, UK in 1979. The daughter of Ian Curtis, the unforgettable frontman of Joy Division, she graduated from the photography program at the Manchester School of Art.
She is a long-time collaborator of the popular arts venue/nightclub The White Hotel. Working in portraiture and landscape, her practice is often about where myth and document meet.
His work features both a dark and light aesthetic, working in both color and black and white.
He has exhibited in various galleries in the UK and also around Europe.
‘Because I Want Nothing’
Until December 23rd
7 Moon Grove
Manchester – United Kingdom
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