IMAGES
    WORDS

Mark
   IMAGES
    WORDS

Mark



2012 – 2022
DIZIONARIO VOL.1

Art Paper Editions
First Edition of 700 Copies
February 2023

APE#210
15 × 22 cm, 224 p, ills. b&w, linnen hardcover
ISBN 9789493146990
cover design by Jurgen Maelfeyt
book design by Gluqbar (G. Caboni, G. Spera, L. Massaro)
texts by Federica Chiochetti and Franco Bifo Berardi


Il testo del dizionario è diventato soltanto la legenda della foto” – Vilém Flusser

Tutto quanto ti riguarda l’hai già vissuto nel corpo tipografico. La vita poi non ti resta che sviverla” – Carmelo Bene

Dizionario Vol.1 is the first of a series of encyclopedic collections of words photographed by Luca Massaro for the last 10 years, presented in book form in alphabetic order.

Each decade is supposed to produce a book with the same graphic design (Vol.1: 2012 - 2022 Vol.2: 2022 - 2032 etc..). The archives of around 1000 pictures are used as raw material for applications in site-specific installations.



SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

1. Public Commission winner Gibellina Images x Triennale Milano: Residency, Workshop in Triennale and Public Installation in Gibellina in collaboration with Architect Anna Merci in July 2023
2. Public Installation @ Istituto Italiano di Cultura Montevideo, curated by Ilaria Campioli & Daniele De Luigi, December 2021 
3. Public Billboards Installation in Reggio Emilia (“Spazio Libero” Giovane Fotografia Italiana) curated by Ilaria Campioli & Daniele De Luigi, introduction text by Franco Bifo Berardi, June 2020.
4. Photo Open Up Festival @ Museo Eremitani / Cappella degli Scrovegni, curated by Carlo Sala, September 2020.
5. Abecedario D’Artista @ Parma Capitale della Cultura 2021, Spring Summer 2021
6. Collective Exhibition @ Viasaterna May 2022
7. Duetto (double solo show) @ Viasaterna January 2023



SELECTED PRESS
FOAM, Domus, Il Giornale Dell’Arte, Repubblica, ATP Diary, Antenne, Elle, Photocaptionist..

Duetto @ Viasaterna, January 2022


“Language as a paradoxical and conflicting force shaping the hybridized present is at the core of Milan-based Luca Massaro’s eclectic work. Through photographs, sculptures, paintings, and artist books he digs the urban and online transient panorama laying bare the combined action of contemporary culture, visual art, graphic communication, and advertising in negotiating the cultural, social and political value of the images that embody our collective worldview.

Although the possibility to experiment with a vast spectrum of media and supports is functional for Massaro to address the tension between meaning and materiality, it’s the creative process itself that outweighs any formal solution. From his archival collection of almost 1000 photographs of signs which he shot and rigorously recorded over the last ten years, the actual writings are extrapolated from the pictures using default graphic softwares (text-to-path) and converted into a textual outline, creating an abstract image out of language. The dissociation is both digital and semantic as the text gets printed, painted, or forged into a sculptural piece and reproduces itself in a new image.

Among the selected works on display in Duetto, two sets of paintings on metal plates emphasize the grey area where message and repetition overlap as they explore the interface between how information appears and how viewers interact with it. Hand-painted in white against a black background, mimicking the negative-positive photographic process, words and symbols stand out all the more starkly, positioned as they are in the middle of pictorial space.

The size of the four larger paintings is a 1:1 scale based on the artist’s height, whereas each of the twenty smaller plates is a 1:1 scale based on the artist’s head, this correspondence introducing a Modulor (scale of proportions based on human measurements) and an autobiographic characterization to the serial display. Two soft blown up sculptures of a question mark stretched on the floor and an exclamation mark hanging off the wall like a punchball, also extracted from the photographic matrices of Dizionario Vol.1, stand still in a state of charged latent energy alluding to the intrinsic oscillation of Massaro’s work amid masculine and feminine, hard and soft, mind and matter, frivolous and functional, high and low, images and words.

With captivating lightboxes La Notte and &, fabricated out of photo-textual outlines, Massaro relays his longstanding fascination for the ubiquitous proliferation of backlit devices and the charming effectiveness of their communication. These corpi tipografici (typographic bodies of work) eschew definitions (λόγος) as they let themselves be said, read and seen only through their phonetical effect (φωνή).”


FOAM Magazine #60 December 2021 by Federica Chiocchetti

Italian artist Luca Massaro has been building a solid body of work on ‘the invisible space that separates an image from its caption, photographs from words, in their different forms of production, translation and transmission’[..], through an eclectic array of photographs, words, sculptures, installations and artists books. [..]
Ten years ago, Massaro begun his affair with words in the public space and landscape, which initially emerged in a sort of photographic encyclopedia, his book Foto Grafia, 2015.. With his new multimedia piece Dizionario Vol.1 he goes one step further. [..]
As the entry of a dictionary has lost its linguistic autonomy and has become ancillary to the imagery picture of the term it defines, like a caption, Massaro exacerbates this concept by building a multi-volume dictionary in which words and entries are replaced by images of words indexed in alphabetic order.
For Volume 1, these images-words have been shot in the public space and mostly, yet not exclusively, in the urban landscape, since 2012 in Europe, Japan, Mexico and North America.
Dizionario is a long-term project: every ten years the artist will publish a volume that assembles around 1000 new images accumulated in the previous decade from his personal archive.
This verbo-visual archive, which creates abstract images out of language, is used as a matrix for the fabrication of new works with various materials [..], exhibited out of context, almost generating a second, more sculptural dictionary. In this way Massaro’s project becomes a semiotic organism that questions and somehow resists the cultural and socio-political values of the images and texts that haunt our psyche and permeate a shared worldview” – Federica Chiocchetti




Dizionario Vol.1 Book afterword as published by Art Paper Editions with the permission of Franco Bifo Berardi (full text pictured above)


“[..] I know I know, I shouldn’t talk about Bologna, but Reggio Emilia, but it’s always about billboards, and always about poetry. Torn, of course, torn billboards I meant.  The order loving citizens may not know it, but poetry doesn’t give a damn about rippers. Yes, the poem shines in the fragment, it shines as a promise of unimaginable loves and aching hearts. [..] Yet there are poets. They tear, at times, and at other times they are torn. I love torn poets. [..] But there are these shining fragments of torn advertisements that are no longer advertisements but finally painting, finally poetry.  Finally poetry. Finally.” – Franco Bifo Berardi

Text written on the occasion of Spazio Libero, public collective installation curated by Ilaria Campioli & Daniele De Luigi. Courtesy of the Author and Comune di Reggio Emilia.