The previous text, which is an extract from a poem of Rupi Kaur, was the inspiration for ‘I will go out and look at the flowers’. This body of work enquires the theme of human fragility, particularly in relation to the intimate process necessary for self-love.
Often starting from my own personal story, I use photography to investigate existential conditions, comparing them to cycles or elements of nature.
The end of a long-term romantic relationship and the separation from the loved one, led me to experience a state of intense frailty alongside the need to undertake an inner journey towards healing. The encounter with my most intimate needs and ultimately with myself, could only have taken place by taking attention the acknowledging those emotions that made me feel ‘fragile’.
Self-love resides in the acceptance of one’s suffering imparted with compassion and kindness and the process of healing can happen in the respect of one’s own vulnerabilities. All too often unfortunately, they are criticized, but in reality vulnerabilities are signs of authenticity, strength and beauty.
As a consequence, I became interested in questioning further the idea of fragility - particularly in relation to the female condition – focusing on the ambivalence of it.
Not by chance, in the field of psychology there has been a debate about this theme. Many researchers, in fact, argue that the biggest myth about fragility is that it is related to weakness. Contrarily, it embeds qualities of sensitivity, vulnerability and understanding. If vulnerability is the core of emotions such as shame or fear, it is also the birthplace of our essential needs, including belonging, love and creativity. Yet, we can only feel connection and love if we allow the most genuine and vulnerable self to be deeply seen and known. To be vulnerable is then synonym for truth, courage and beauty.
The aim of the series is then to visually explore the dimension of beauty residing in fragility making a parallelism between the natural element of the flower and the female body.
As Rupi Kaur’s poem shows, the cycle the flower’s life metaphorically reflects the delicacy of the human condition. According to their nature, flowers are meant to rise, bloom, wilt and fall in a short time, to then grow again. Like them, we are, too. We can only strengthen and thrive after we have experienced the incumbent state of fragility.
Due to their annual blooming, flowers embody the image of life, seasonal rebirth as well as death. They are in fact associated with ephemerality and loss, yet they are also a symbol of harmony, balance and passion.
In my diptychs, I gave particular emphasis to the body, as it is the main tool for the development of our feelings, experiences and identity. Through the movement and the flowering garments, from one side the body mirrors the flowers, while from the other it becomes expression of its inner state. Assuming postures that are harmonic, delicate, but also intense, the body seeks beauty whilst exploring its condition of sensibility, femininity and intimacy. The result is a visual ambiguity, as it is not clear which image imitates the other. The performative act, enhanced by the photographic medium, becomes here a means for investigating the relationship with the self, the body and with one’s own emotionality.
The flowers included in the work have been selected according to the meaning they have been assigned to. Starting from medieval period and in a more systematic way from the nineteen-century, a language of flowers linked to the communication of emotions and values has been created. For example the orange rose is associated with charm, the iris with faith, the lily with purity and the strelitzia with nobility.
The title of the series comes from a poem of Edith Matilda Thomas. In the first stanza she speaks about a kin who, in front of the difficulties of life and of a fretted heart, would say: ‘I will go out and look at the flowers’, to remind herself of the inherent beauty inhabiting in the frangible things of life.
This work, which is still in progress, has been created in Tuscany during the Coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, it has been inspired also by this moment of uncertainty and fragility we are still going through.