At first glance, Alexandre Morelli’s photography seems to suggest that there’s a painting hidden just beneath the surface. The impressionistic feel of the “Dawning presbyopia” series and the pictorial abstraction of his “Corners” leave the viewer guessing which medium was used. However, there’s no doubt about it: Morelli’s art is pure photography.
Morelli doesn’t aim for verisimilitude; instead, he seeks out the “verum” (truth) that is hidden behind the “similis” (similar). The “truths” that interest him are our points of view, the way we see the world and the most meaningful ways to represent the emotional space created by seeing and being seen.
As a general rule, Morelli doesn’t feel that it’s necessary or even desirable to simply reconstruct t that which can be seen with one’s own eyes. Rather, he believes that one must recreate the act of viewing and perceiving, an experience that is heavily informed by one’s emotional reactions.
Moving away from a “figurative” approach was, for him, a way to affirm a certain freedom, a certain sort of storytelling. His images stretch out time and play with the frame. Each shot produces pictorial matter that is a far cry from realistic representation. He uses colour and nuance as an essential and moving component of his photographs.
The images are created rapidly; the artist creates fleeting impressions. As he meanders through the streets, he captures his surroundings and translates them into a vibration, an abstraction. He furtively/surreptitiously records the “underbelly of representation”. In this movement, this action, the significance of the photographic gesture (as a gestural art) is revealed: it must be interpreted as the direct transcription, in an image, of the photographer’s experience.
Emotions are conjured into existence through the eye of the beholder. But before that, the eye scans, studies, adjusts, corrects, “analyses” in order to find, almost mechanically, the clarity that convention expects. But images are deceiving. For an image to be “read”, the viewer must call upon other resources to surpass what can easily be understood. “past-present”, “painting-photograph”, “reality-abstraction”—Alexandre Morelli juxtaposes the real with the imaginary, right at the nebulous line that separates the two, and it’s up to the viewer to reconstruct his or her own picture.