Invited by the Archaeological Park of Pompeii in autumn 2020 to conduct research in the context of Pompeii Commitment. Archaeological Matters Luisa Lambri not only captured the contradictions with which the purported objectivity of the camera has narrated – rather than recorded – Pompeii in the last two and a half centuries, but she has also expressed a further and, in many aspects, extreme outcome. Untitled (Casa di Giulia Felice, # 02) is one of the works resulting from Lambri’s research at the Archaeological Park of Pompeii, and it inaugurates Collectio, investigating resonances and perspectives of this. The frescoes decorating the House of Julia Felix, upon which the artist focussed during her research, include extensive figurative works, which have only partly survived, in which the portraits of the dominus or the domina and allegorical myths adorning the walls are framed within geometrical structures and lines, sometimes decorated with flowers and vine leaves, indicating and precisely defining the space of the pictorial illusion. As the artist explains: “At times, the only thing remaining of these paintings in the ruins are the lines of the frames themselves, which are simple and beautiful in their own right”. Lambri captures every detail of these lines and the coloured canvases they frame, but by removing them from their original secondary and servile function, underlines their expressive independence. The pervasive relationship between the concrete and the abstract in these images is studied, from a purely technical viewpoint, by the practice Lambri uses to progressively create all her works, with different layers and passages: the images are in fact produced using an analogue camera, then the resulting negatives are scanned for digital processing and, finally, printed again in analogue mode, patiently calibrating the light, colours and contrasts of the various elements making up the image, an authentic crasis of analogue and digital knowledge. In this sense, Lambri’s research in Pompeii is presented as a critical reconnaissance of the ambiguous statutes of the contemporary image.
Luisa Lambri (Como, 1969. Lives and works in Milan).
Text from the introduction of Luisa Lambri’s POMPEII COMMITMENT 20, by Andrea Viliani.