From the Inside

Berta Salinas

“The visible begins with light. And as soon as there is light there is shade.  A hand draws shadows on the paper white. All drawing is a shadow around light.” – John Berger.

Whenever I think of still lifes, I think of Giorgio Morandi. I guess this happens to a lot of people. Morandi’s paintings rarely changed thematically over the course of his lifetime. He painted the same objects over and over again, in the same scenario, and under the same light. The peculiar nature of his work is not found in these vases, bowls, and containers, but in the Light. This is how this project began.

They say that Italian Light is different. That it is a warm, contained, and a clear light. The constant clarity of the Light exaggerates the apparently permanent identity of the objects, making them seem unchanging, as if they were anchored; covering the object up, making them melt in with the background, blurring them. When I focused on this light, as this project requires, the objects disappeared, and I discovered Morandi.

This work is an attempt to reinterpret the works of Giorgio Morandi, an Italian painter who focused on Light and Space.

The Light, as a key to lightness, ambiguity, and timelessness that his still lifes convey. And Space, as the place where everything happens, where mystery comes into play, and where objects seem like they are about to disappear. They aren’t blurry or distant, but rather weightless. They are on the edge of existence.

In this space, in this same plane and horizon that only changes through light, a conviction, a subtlety, and a firmness that is certainly Morandi’s acceptance without pretence of his own limitations, also forces the spectator to accept himself. I worked on the basis of this way of showing space, of positioning the objects within it, and its colours.

The objects that Morandi painted are not objects. They are places. Everything has its place in this space. He was not in love with the appearance of these things, but in the projection of an appearance or presence. He was interested in making the invisible visible, and of exploring origins.


Text & concept by Berta Salinas
Photography by Carlos Alvarez
Set assistant by Julio Calvo
Creative Support by Ines Ybarra