Interview: Eleonora Bendi
Luca Curci talks with Eleonora Bendi during CANVAS INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR, at THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Eleonora Bendi is an Italian documentary and architecture photographer, living and working between Hamburg and Venice. She has a master’s degree in Creative Documentary & Photojournalism in partnership with Magnum Photos at Spéos Paris Photographic Institute. She pursues long-term projects and responds to assignments from the press, architecture studios, institutions and individuals. Her work explores the landscape and environmental issues, often with an emphasis on industrial areas, forms and colours aesthetics. After her study in biology at La Sapienza University in Rome, in 2004 she started to study at the Italian Institute of Photography (IIF) in Milan and since then she has been working as a freelance photographer in Berlin. She dedicates herself to photography full time since 2019. In this series, I explore industrial harbour areas across Europe. During the night, these buildings transcend their real dimension and appear as part of a “bestiary” or collection of fantasy creatures. The night sublimate their transition from the status of an object to the status of the subject. All along with this series, I apply the same photographic protocol (long exposure, same aperture, working with a tripod that blurs the limit between landscape and portraiture, making me reflect upon these buildings as posed subjects). The magnificence of these steel and iron structures is emphasised by the reflection of artificial light surrounding them in the darkness of the night. In this situation, I see them as living beasts that breathe and pulse. In the post-industrial era, they come into sight as a vestige of another time, part of contemporary mythology that I try to put into light.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Eleonora Bendi – I studied biology in Rome and then I decided to increase my knowledge in photography, studying first in Milan and then in Paris taking a master’s in Creative Documentary in collaboration with Magnum Photos Agency. During the last experience, I had the honour and privilege to know and work with the most important photographers of the last decades and this signed deeply my way to look and thinking about photography.
LC – Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
EB – I work during the night and my ritual is to drive for hours searching for my subjects in the industrial harbour area. For me is fundamental the silence and the long time I take before shooting to create the perfect image. I don’t use post-production on my images.
LC – When you take photos, are you usually inspired by the situation or do you find inspiration in yourself?
EB – I would say both because I get inspiration from the situation and the condition of light that I find on location but at the same time my choices of the subject are taken from the subconscious that drives me through the night.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this exhibition? How did it inspire you?
EB – My series was already almost finished and I was lucky to find that the concept of this exhibition was fitting to my ideas.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this event?
EB – Reality is much more complex than what we see in front of our eyes. With my artwork, I want to show that factories are not only industrial buildings that produce something material to use but can transform themself through the eye of the photographers into fantasy creatures, part of a “bestiario”. In the post-industrial era, they come into sight as a vestige of another time, part of contemporary mythology that I try to put into light.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
EB – I enjoyed cooperating with you. I found the vernissage an occasion to talk with other artists that were participating in the exhibition.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
EB – If I have to be totally honest, I would like to say thank you for the opportunity that ITSLIQUID GROUP gave me but I find the participation fee very expensive for what it’s offered. The illumination system was not at the level to observe the artworks and in the presentation of the project it was written that the exhibition would be attended by curators, gallerists and critics but at the vernissage, I couldn’t meet one of them.