contemporary art / history of art

Artwork of the month / February 2021

Valentina D’Accardi

Photo on Hahnemühle Photo Pearl 310 gr
Variable dimensions

Valentina D’Accardi’s photograph “Düsseldorf” shows a multi-storey building during sunset. It is an edifice, which might be found in many city peripheries in any European country. By the title, one would assume that the building is to be located in the German town Düsseldorf. The picture is part of a series with the same name, depicting the identical building at different times of the day and at different seasons. Besides this, the project includes digital photographs, text and videos. Without being meant as diary, it is a collection of artistic expressions, observations and feelings, recounted to a precise person, the one who is missing, unknown to the public.

First presented to the public in April 2020 in the exhibition “Art as a virus, I Cantieri di Cristallino durante il Lockdown” (The Cristallino’s worksites during the Lockdown) it seems to be a reflexion about the isolation during the first lockdown in Europe due to the pandemic. However, Valentina has started the series already in 2017, when she got the present of a Polaroid camera. It is not the result of a longstanding planned project, but rather a loose collection of impressions, captured in moments of standstill, when the artist suffered from loneliness and a lack of something. In these times of desperation, she shot hundreds of photos, always the view from her bedroom, in her apartment, were she lives since ten years.

With the time, the multi-story building opposite to her small edifice at the periphery of Bologna became her “husband”, the first thing she sees when she awakes and the last regard before sleeping. Concurrently, the construction represents the unreachable, the other, the elsewhere. Logically, the Lover whispered to her: “How strange where you live. It resembles Düsseldorf.”

This remark fits into the logic of the personal autobiographical world of emotions, assuming that the geographic Düsseldorf might be one of Valentina’s places of longing. Nonetheless, with this another dimension enters into the story. As the artist annotates in the accompanying text, not only the town in Germany is meant. The title is also a reference to Bernd and Hilla Becher and their photographic School of Düsseldorf.

Well knowing the influential role of this photographic movement, the artist decided for her own work another way. Instead of capturing residential houses and industrial buildings with an inanimate “neutral” sky in black and white, she uses colour photography, to illustrate the atmosphere of the moment. In contrast to the Becher’s photos with their clear lines, “Düsseldorf” is even blurred and vague. It is important to Valentina, to depict an emotional moment, provoked by the weather and light conditions and her own feelings. This decision underlines her distance to the celebrated photographic approach. Like the multi-storey building in front of her window, the Becher’s attitude remains unreachable and strange to her. The concept of work is all but objective; it is evidently subjective.

Besides the presentation in April 2020, the series was shown in the group exhibition “Latitudini quotidiane” in the Musei Civici Eremitani in Padua. Additionally, some photos were part of Giovanna Sarti’s project “Note di Sguardi” and with that on view in Berlin, Bologna and Cervia. Recently, “Düsseldorf” was granted by the 3rd camera work prize by Palazzo Rasponi 2, which includes a solo exhibition in the space of the gallery.


Valentina D’Accardi

Born in 1985 in Bologna, Valentina D’Accardi studied painting at the Accademia di Belle Arti in her hometown and graduated in Visual Arts. After her diploma in 2010, the artist represented her Alma Mata with her first solo show “La regina bianca” at the Mulhouse 010 exhibition in France.

Since her early career, Valentina works with photography, completed by other media. Her artistic researches are often personnel, including archive material, drawing, video and sculptural elements. By these means, the artist recounts poetically intimate stories about her environment, her family or herself. These visions are strongly introspective, but implicate the spectator by their emotional profundity.

Besides solo exhibitions in Italy, France and Lithuania, Valentina participated in numerous group shows in her home country, but also in Slovenia, Monaco and Germany. In addition to catalogues concerning her exhibitions and projects, the artist illustrated books with her drawings and photographs. Moreover, her works were granted several prizes. Most recently, she was awarded with the 3rd classification of Camera Work, by Palazzo Rasponi 2 for her series “Düsseldorf” which is our artwork of the month of February 2021.

Valentina lives and works in Bologna, Italy.