My work focuses on the invisible space that separates an image from its caption, photographs from words, in their different forms of production, translation and transmission, especially online.

I’m interested in the intrinsic duality of the photo-graphic medium, and its tie to the performative construction of identities. I’m looking for possible convergences between the new uses of photography and its tradition, the creation of a cohesive body of work and its decontextualization by internet distribution and immediacy.

Via photography, graphic design, installations, artist books, off and online interventions, my work explores recurring leitmotifs: “individual mythologies” and visual advertising strategies, photographic clichés and the conflicting hybridization of iconotexts.





 

Gluqbar



Gluqbar aims to provide a framework at the intersection of online and offline publishing and exhibition-making.
Currently located in Luca Massaro’s “Casa & Bottega” (home+workshop) in Milano and online, Gluqbar is a domestic and public space challenging disciplinary boundaries between photography, art direction, architecture, clubbing, graphic & webdesign. Gluqbar is a flexible exhibition space and publishing house with the goal of producing site-specific public installations, virtual&printed matter, off-site and online projects, in an oxymoronic architecture without walls.

 www.gluqbar.xyz



“GALLERY WITHOUT WALLS (Reggio Emilia, 2015)

A gallery without walls Just what is it that makes today’s art galleries different? “The museum only makes sense as a pioneer”? “An art book is a museum without walls”? Gluqbar gallery will try to deepen this conversation in dialogue with selected invited artists, site specific exhibitions, off site and online projects, with the aim of producing innovative forms of presentation in an oxymoronic architecture without walls.

MICRO was the first name that came to mind for a portable gallery: technologies are getting smaller and smaller, portable and multi-platform, whereas the breadth of a structure is still a matter of size. The wide-angle camera lens will turn an installation into a wide-ranging and widespread idea? The scale triggers different responses in the utilization of each medium: how would the artist respond to a micro or macro context?

Vitrine “At one point, it seemed as if the gallery walls were turning into glasses”. According to O’Doherty history of modern exhibitions, between the 20s and 70s, “the pedestal melted away..the frame dropped..space slid across the wall..walls became ground..the ceiling a frozen sky..and the gallery..a gesture..we can identify with the mind”. In the era of transparency in communication, politics and business, glass screens and open data, Gluqbar Gallery will turn the fleeting metaphor into a curatorial blueprint and propose a see-through exhibiting space, an IRL network at the intersection of inside and outside, public and private, quasi-reflective and quasi-transparent.

The 4th wall Not only are the gallery installations temporary: artists are invited to occupy time more than space, to work with ephemeral and intangibles ideas and extend the boundaries of the exhibition as a medium, to reflect on the shifting definitions of time and space. How to “break the fourth wall” in a gallery without walls?

The enlarged glass André Malraux wrote of “a museum without walls”, “an imaginary architecture built on the capabilities and proliferation of photographic reproduction”. Digital printing low costs and the online network distribution channels made the printed matter one of the most common medium for new generations. If in the past, it was often the case that an exhibition produced a derivative catalogue (sometimes as a poor description of the installation on paper), now the rising number of artists working first on the printed book, inverted the attitude and often turned the exhibition into a translation of the printed page on the wall. Can a time-based exhibition space made of glass (from “Mirror & Windows” to “Clouds & Glasses”), documented through a photograph, become an alternative approach to mirror the contemporary glass screen devices and interrogate the photographic medium itself?

IRL / URL Located at first in the main street of Reggio and recently relocating to Milanese Via Gluck, Gluqbar will pop-up as a vitrine showcase at the intersection of personal studio and public gallery. The reconfiguration of physical space through digital technology and social networking will be a main concern of Gluqbar publishing and curating activities: “an exhibition space symptomatic of physical and digital commingling - an example of how art, like life itself, now exists somewhere between the two”. Gluqbar aims to think new forms to fit original contents, to work through remediation and remix of existing media, beyond technological determinism and fetishization of the digital age. If email substituted the fax, and progressively completed the mail system, if e-commerce is the set of communications, management and trade of commercial goods reshaping our shopping habits, if e-books and e-learning allowed more access and revolutionized the physical counterparts, Gluqbar Gallery will invite the participating artists, through the opening of an IRL space, to exhibit their idea of tomorrow e-xhibition.

 www.gluqbar.xyz/exhibitions


EXHIBITED ARTISTS
MILANO
Enrico Boccioletti, Alessandro Calabrese, Valentina Cameranesi Sgroi, Martina Corà, Giorgio Di Noto, Irene Fenara, Teresa Giannico, Ben Janowitz, Filippo Luini, Rachele Maistrello, Luca Massaro, Pietro Mazza, Filippo Minelli, Parasite 2.0
REGGIO EMILIA
Alberto Sinigaglia, Esther Hovers, Federico Clavarino, Sofia Borges, Discipula, Miti Ruangkritya, The Cool Couple, Eva O’Leary, Niccolò DeGiorgis/Giorgio Di Noto/Federico Carpani, Filippo Minelli, Piotr Niepsuj






Additional texts and photographs



appeared in: AnOther, Artribune, Bullett, Flash Art, Fotocrazia Blog LaRepubblica, Generazione Critica, HERO, IL Sole 24 ore Magazine, Latent Image, Living Corriere, M Le Monde, Paper Journal, Purple.fr, Rolling Stone Italia, SPBH, VICE, W-O-S.ru, W Magazine, YET, Zero.eu.



..in his latest work, Vietnik (2019), Massaro reflects on the representation of his persona through a refined narrative system where images that for compositional care and attention recall the masters of analogue photography, are linked together in a complex rhizomatic system that remembers the network's connecting spaces. Linking past and present of visual research in a continuous game of references and stratifications, the images produced by Massaro mix personal experience and imaginative dimension thus becoming ambiguous “multiples” of the author.. Following this logic, Darkoom expands the universe of Vietnik in an installative form, introducing the sound element, another central language in Massaro’s practice as well as in his life. The title forces two worlds that seem to be at odds to a curious coexistence: nostalgic fetishism for film photography, and club culture darkrooms. This unresolved tension represents the ideal point of access to Massaro's work, a metaphor and laboratory of a continuously evolving personality. – Marco Paltrinieri

“A clever visual bildungsroman where, lurking behind his semiotic images, we find layers of the young artist’s influences..” – Aperture PhotobookReview by Federica Chiocchetti

“In Vietnik Luca Massaro rewrites the classical american tour imagery in a performative and meta-identity tone.” – Domus

“Who is Vietnik?” – Looking On Interview
Vietnik is a musical pseudonym born in 2010 as a SoundCloud username. The name derived from a dialogue in the film Masculin Féminin by Godard who speaks of Bob Dylan as a "Vietnik" (union of the words Vietnam and Beatnik). Of "Vietnik" in Godard, I liked the ambiguity and biographical inaccuracy, within the fiction of a film, on what in turn is a pseudonym of Robert Zimmerman, and the reasoning on terms like "persona", character", "mask", "male / female","double".


“La semiosfera quotidiana è satura di parole, non solo di immagini. Di parole ridotte a immagini: insegne, loghi, marchi, cartelli, segnali. Un'immagine, la fotografia, può riportare le scritture da immagini a parole: Massaro le cerca, le isola, le riordina, le fa dire di nuovo: arte, stile, universo, occhio... Il significato liberato dalla tirannia del significante”. – Michele Smargiassi su Fotocrazia Blog di LaRepubblica
"Il lavoro più seriale è senz’altro quello realizzato da Luca Massaro (Reggio Emilia, 1991), che ha raccolto tra il 2010 e il 2014, tra Europa e Giappone, fotografie di parole che hanno tutte a che fare con la visione, come in un’enciclopedia “tra i cliché e le sfumature delle immagine contemporanea” (tratto dalla presentazione del libro Foto Grafia da cui è tratto il progetto, edito nel 2015 da Danilo Montanari https://www.danilomontanari.com/pubblicazioni/foto-grafia/). Un dizionario multilingue e multicolore di parole raccolte fotografando cartelli stradali, graffiti, annunci, insegne, copertine… Una collezione potenzialmente infinita in cui immagine e testo fanno l’una parte dell’altro, in un cortocircuito di cui sono complici la formazione letteraria dell’autore, i suoi studi di linguistica e semiotica. Eppure Massaro riesce a non prendersi troppo sul serio e insieme a essere erudito dietro quella copertina pop, divertente e insieme discreto, immediato e insieme evocativo, a suscitare una domanda non solo nei confronti di se stesso ma anche dei suoi spettatori." Alessandra Lanza

“Nato a Reggio Emilia, Luca Massaro vive e lavora a Milano. Nonostante la giovane età, la caratteristica distintiva del suo lavoro fotografico è determinata dalla trasposizione dei progetti in forma di libri, una probabile conseguenza della laurea in Letteratura, Comunicazione e Media conseguita alla Cattolica di Milano. Risulta quindi difficile estrapolare una singola fotografia dalle sue serie perché ognuna di esse è profondamente strumentale al racconto di un processo, o di un ragionamento – le immagini diventano piccole frasi che compongono il discorso del libro. “L’Aquila e La Rana” ne è un esempio: invitato a svolgere una residenza a L’Aquila, Massaro si ispira a una leggenda che narra di come i terremoti siano provocati dai salti di una rana gigantesca. Ne scaturisce così un’indagine in formato tabloid che vuole connettere la previsione dei fenomeni naturali, la scienza, le leggende popolari e il documentario. Per una serie precedente, “Foto Grafia”, Luca crea invece un “diario di uno scrittore wannabe, un manuale ironico di linguistica” e colleziona immagini di scritte: insegne, cartelli, adesivi, che isolati dall’inquadratura gli permettono di giocare con significato e significante, di evidenziare i divertenti cortocircuiti di cui è costellata la vita di tutti i giorni.“ Serena Pezzato - “Nuova Fotografia Italiana” Flash Art Italia

“A clever deconstruction of the very notion of semiotics”– Federica Chiocchetti

“Photography is mute, indeed almost provocatively so, and the effort to ‘fill in’ those blank spaces of potential meaning often demands more than any one photograph could readily support. So, despite seeming to transcribe visual surfaces and their use across a host of informational contexts, as well as our general familiarity with the medium, individual photographs are still quite challenging to read; what can be ‘seen’ in an image is often more to do with who is looking than the photograph itself. However, the connection between photography and language remains an important one, because the medium is composed of what we might think of as ‘natural’ signs, highly codified systems of meaning that paradoxically appear to have a transparent function and can seemingly be understood without any resistance from the photograph itself. Accordingly, we often describe the use of photography as ‘reading into’ an image, and Luca Massaro’s series FOTO GRAFIA brings this textual ambiguity to its logical (or rather, literal) extreme.

Of course, signage is an even more ubiquitous presence in our lives, as printing is a far older and more widely diffused technology than the photographic image – though no less monumental in the social changes that occurred as a result of its introduction, comparable to the development of photography centuries later. In thinking about Massaro’s work it is no coincidence that these two disparate fields would be connected, as he has deliberately collected examples of printed language, giving it an almost sculptural heft, but also, and more importantly, connecting it to the ideographic character of the photographic process, that relentless tendency of the camera to reduce all that it touches to a ‘sign’ of some absent narrative. Here the photograph is also a text able to reflect (or contain) an additional linguistic fragment, each being read as a condition of the other, opening into a rebus-like set of quotations, which also returns to a key modernist conceit – that of overlapping voices meant to embody a social tumult, full of possibility.
But Massaro does not take these tropes to such an extreme that they are lost in a maze of shattered or atomised meaning. Rather, the fragments are woven together into a purposeful whole, structured around two different poles, one being the additional dimension of text outside of the photographs themselves, layered between them like a palimpsest of reference. The other is, of course, in the particularity of the words contained within the pictures, which represent an aesthetic vocabulary that is at once practical and conceptual, full of resonant terms. Yet despite that semantic connection the individual words do not resolve into any clear grammatical sense – obviously this is less a space possessed by definite meanings drawn from the ‘content’ of the text than it is a pattern or a set of potential combinations. So, even if the words remain intelligible, Massaro compacts them into an abstract substance. The arbitrary figures that we imagine render experience in the concrete form of language are here a provisional chain of association with no beginning – or end.“ - Darren Campion


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