Interview Jacopo Valentini


My entire work is based on contaminations, from suggestions to research, production and finally delivery. I am especially interested in the contamination between intuitions that are linked to the act of physically moving around and of photographing, ones linked to the vernacular imaginary, as well as ones linked to the scientific one. What captivates me me is how the role of images can evolve, and how the images themselves can be redefined. Contaminations are fundamental to me, essentially because I believe that a photograph cannot exist for itself, but that the point is rather how photography can actively participate in processes of knowledge building without necessarily being descriptive. As mentioned above, my work process consists of contaminations – not only between different disciplines, but also between languages. I am currently really interested in the possibilities of interaction between the image and the text, and the installation possibilities of the work themselves. A particularly important reference in this sense is the work of Allan Sekulan, which fits into the documentary tradition in a rather radical way, constructing real essays that interact with his photographs.


I often look to the past and the present; the referenceson which I focus do not necessarily belong to a long-gone time. The “book object”, whether photographic or written, is fundamental to me. I believe that reading provides the project with essential aspects for its development. Lately, I have been avidly reading John Berger, Jorge Luis Borges and Ermanno Cavazzoni. I am also reading various essays that give me fundamental points for the development of my projects. For the visual arts category, as for the others, my list is not fixed but rather changing; however, there are some stable points which are currently: Giovanni Bellini, Stefano Graziani, Bas Princen, Pero della Francesca, Fischli & Weiss, Giotto, Francesco Guardi, Stephen Shore, Beato Angelico, Lewis Baltz, On Kawara, Aldo Rossi, Beate Gütschow, Jean Fouquet, Pezo Von Ellrichshausen, Paul Strand, Sandro Botticelli, Franco Guerzoni, Luigi Ghirri, Jeff Wall, Giotto, Carl Andre, Perugino, Takashi Homma, Stephen Shore, OFFICE KGDVS, Raffaello and I could go on. As for my cinematographic references: Andrej Tarkovsky, Ingmar Bergman, Sebastián Lelio, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wes Anderson, Bernardo Bertolucci. I decided to create this haphazard, indefinite list on purpose, and to remain on the surface, by only mentioning their names.

Research methodology

I never carry my equipment around without a precise and premeditated purpose. I have never worn my camera around my neck. My visual practice only takes place after a period – of varying length, depending on the case – of studio research between books, movies, articles, archives, the web, and of course other artistic research. I conduct in-depth study before taking a photograph or a series of photographs, which then go on to form a project. Behind every project idea is a series of analogies, relatively intense, deep, or direct.

Artistic crossovers and contaminations

My visual research stemmed from photography, but it did not stop there, far from it. As events unfolded, the introduction of other artistic practices such as artistic installations and sculpture became increasingly necessary for me. In many cases, printing a photograph and hanging it on the wall was no longer enough. While always remaining the starting point – and, in many cases, the finishing point – in my research, photography alone is not sufficient to understand the entirety of the message. One example I feel like describing is one related to a project of mine, initiated in 2018 and still in development, named Vis Montium. This research, which reflects on territorial displacement within the common imaginary, finds in the sculptural reproduction another way of execution where all the artistic components are mutually necessary, although this does not mean that they are inseparable.