Lampedusa or the extended desert
2014 - Sélection du jury et de Fetart
“You feel the infinite in yourself within the extensive desert that is human life”
We are used to the sad images of the landings in the island of Lampedusa: dozens of desperate faces, without a name, without an identity. “Migrants”, that’s what they are called. As an indefinite mass, as if nobody counted as an individual. Extended desert is an attempt to give dignity to people through those objects -personal, in fact- that were lost during the landing and that the sea has accepted and returned.
A teapot, a cup of tea, a piece of cloth. A radio, a box of cous cous, a torch. Small unimportant things, here are loaded with meaning. From an aesthetic point of view, I created simple images: choosing to let me by, I wanted to give voice to their urgency to tell. I portrayed these objects floating in a white limbo that almost devours them, immersed in the undefined, because the fate of their possessors is indefinite: did they survive? Did they arrive at their destination? Did they go home? We only know that passed from Lampedusa, nothing else.
Every object has a story that evokes a reality, but also opens to different hypothesis: my intent is to build a story, staring from these fragments of life, the images are all on the same level. I will not forget anything because I do not want to forget anyone.
The title is borrowed from a quote by Pierpaolo Pasolini who speaks of “extended desert” as human existence opposed to infinity within. I think this definition fits into the existential condition of these people, who escape from a real and physical desert to cross the sea, another desert. And in the end, they land in a place that does not welcome them, and that becomes an extended desert from a human and social point of view.
About the artist
Massimiliano Gatti (Voghera, Italy, 1981) has a bachelor degree in Pharmacy and he is graduated in Photography at Cfp R. Bauer in Milan. From a long time he carries out a number of photographic research about the Middle Eastern territory. He is photographer in archeological missions in Middle East (2008 – 2011 in Qatna, Syria and from 2012 in Iraqi Kurdistan inside the PARTeN project). This helps him to discover and know better the situation in these territories full of History and stories. His approach is documentary and far away from the reportage, his research spans from the ancient history exploration of ruins and past traces, to the observation of the complexity of contemporary reality. He bring forward everything proposing a personal thought. He took part of many group and solo exhibitions.