Mauro Fiorese (1970 – 2016) is internationally one of the most regarded photographers of our time. One of his last series of work was “Treasure Rooms”, which played a fundamental role in the creation of the project “KAIROS. The Right Moment”
The artist Mauro Fiorese speaks about his work for the project “KAIROS. The Right Moment” – and about a unique team.
How did you get the idea to photograph the archives of major museums?
This kind of idea doesn’t suddenly appear like an unforeseen epiphany of course. It was more like it developed slowly, step by step. I got the original spark while having a discussion with friends in my studio, we were standing looking at one of my works and talking. We were talking about the variety and the enormous number of artworks that were created by our ancestors in Italy, but which are for the most part hidden away from public view. The idea for Treasure Rooms arose out of this initial discussion.
What was the greatest challenge? How did you get access to the museum archives?
With a good team behind you, getting access to the museums is actually pretty easy. I was lucky, because my gallery supported me in dealing with bureaucratic agencies, mistrust towards me from the museums as well as practical issues. The greatest challenge was understanding these spaces, which have enormously more works than are shown in the museums themselves, and to report about them. But not like a journalist. On the contrary, I wanted to visually illustrate the spirit and dignity I found in each of the locations. So I looked for a very personal approach to carry out the project.
How did you do that?
I didn’t arrange the things in the archives, but instead positioned myself so I could catch the atmosphere of the spaces – spaces that are not usually accessible – each with their own special aura. The concept goes way beyond normal photography. It was not for nothing that we framed the photos, a modern art form, in universal frames, a let’s say Flemish frame with a brass sign. Like a box that holds a space that nobody can see.
In the exhibition “KAIROS. The Right Moment”, the Treasure Rooms are being shown together with paintings by Wolfgang Beltracchi. What’s the appeal of the cooperation?
When my friend Christian (Zott) though about doing the project and the cooperation, all I knew about Wolfgang Beltracchi was his name, a few pictures and interviews. I taught at the der Academia Belle Arti for many years. I find his ability to technically reproduce nearly every artistic style from any era to be amazing. But to create a new picture in the style of a certain artist or era, that’s something only he can do. When the three of us met for the first time, it was exceptional. It’s like adrenalin for me: the freedom to work on the idea, the luck of working with people who I can discuss the idea with over dinner, who inspire each other – and when you think you’ve messed everything up, you start over from scratch together again. It’s rare for an artist to find many of these kinds of projects during his lifetime.