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Joel Peter Witkin, Platone and a piano

A bright and visual mass has subjected to the same methamorphosis of an actor on stage, beauty possesses a cruel, more than dramatic aspect

Joel Peter Witkin, United States artist born in 1939, worked as a reporter during the Vietnam War. For Witkin beauty possesses a cruel, more than dramatic aspect – expressed with the contrast of black and white, from lugubrious to cartoonish, from pictorial to theatrical – without losing reference to Renaissance classicism. One episode during adolescence was fundamental in the development of Witkin: an automobile accident in which a child was decapitated. For the development of this visionary story, Filippo Timi – creator and director, not only photographer – mixed Witkin with references to David La Chapelle, more suited to the aesthetics of this fashion coded industry. The electricity, the disorder and the excess of La Chapelle encounter the contrasting attitudes of Witkin. The result is a luminous mash that Filippo Timi has distilled into a shimmering liquid – respecting the code of alchemy and metamorphosis of his career as actor, writer and artist. The images were shot in a small studio that could recall the atelier of a Flemish painter. The details are in the corners, without being blurred by the curve of the photo- graphic lens illuminated by the open diaphragm. The models are posing for for the painter – the dresses are surfaces for colour. This is Lampoon Italia – that which we are trying to recover: knowledge of how to create images that stand out from the industry that today continues to lose its own rigor in a digression on the web, that has no precedent in history, where a group of intellectuals has always been able to influence the world thanks to the conviction of their own thoughts. It’s about recovering a pictorial quality, the courage of a vision – in embroidery on velvet, in a pattern printed on a sweater.

FILIPPO TIMI
FILIPPO TIMI’S SKETCH

Filippo Timi stands among the most accomplished and appreciated artists. The aesthetics that is represented by his actor’s body, with the expressivity of the face is amplified under the direction of writers, from Bellocchio to Ozpetek. His writing path has given the broad public that synthesis on life titled Tuttalpiù muoio (At Least I’ll Die) – epitome of a golden moment for Italian publishing, not repeatable today, symbolically represented in those years by Fandango house. Teatro Parenti, more than a stage, is for Timi that grotto which Plato first talked about: a projection of ideas onto reality, of history onto spectacle. On that stage, in fact, Favola first came to life, that recently has been interpreted as a film by Sebastiano Mauri. A few years ago, at Parenti, Timi put on Don Giovanni. Costumes were designed by Fabio Zam- bernardi, creative director of Prada, and then photographed by Tim Walker for Love. A television program in black and white, ranging from jazz and pop, on the screen Cole Porter and Marco Mengoni. A flow of thoughts, of notes, of meetings slipped through the fingers of Timi, that by moving these fingers played an Olympic, even Olympian piano, because these images that we present today are physical exercise for the eyes, a gym for the soul.

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FROM LEFT, METALLIC COAT DSQUARED2, CLOTHES AND ACCESSORIES FILIPPO TIMI’S ARCHIVE

Text Carlo Mazzoni

Photography Filippo Timi

Stylist Giuseppe Sileo

LIGHT DIRECTOR RICCARDO FERRI, LIGHT AND PHOTO ASSISTANT ALESSANDRO VULLO, HAIR AGATA @ ALDO COPPOLA, MAKE-UP CHIARA CIMA @ ALDO COPPOLA, MANICURST SELICA IANESELLI @ MKS MILANO, MODEL GILBERT0 @ I LOVE, GORDON @ I LOVE, CRISTIAN GRIB @ ELITE, NAIKA @ WONDERWALL, SIMONE B @ D’MEN, SIMONE S @ D’MEN, MAXIM NAZAV @ INDEPENDENT, DIGITAL TECH ARNALDO ABBA, POST-PRODUCTION LAURA BAIARDINI, FASHION ASSISTANT ANDREA PRATO

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