The packaging of the book UNO signed by Giampaolo Ricò is yellow, black and red. It refers to the boxes of plates by a famous brand: negative color 4×5”, an image at a time, professional, organized, rich in details and color tones.
They are photographs of flowers, objects that appear in the photograph immediately even when it was still not called photograph, in photogenic drawings by William Henry Fox Talbot before the middle of the nineteenth century – almost herbaria made of paper and silver salts – and continue to be decisive in still life that approaches or moves away from the encoded genres in painting, in the pictorial ornamentation art nouveau of photo-graphs between the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries, in the cubist and purist reflection. Subject as present as elusive, as obvious as metaphorical, from landscape scale en plein air to the macroscopic dilatation more alienated of the minimum detail. Famous and abused the motto of Gertrude Stein on repeat, estrangement, elusiveness of meaning: a rose is a rose is a rose.
Ricò proposes a double articulation in these portraits of corollas: each image combines an autobiographical song of atmospheres, reflections, meetings. The connection between the image and the text may appear, at times, by contiguity: these still life of simple lighting could have occurred in the interior of the theater of occasions and written thoughts, but it soon becomes clear that is not like that: the references are sometimes metaphorical, sometimes entrusted to color, to the “acting” (that’s right) of the flowers, just sometimes elusive, invite the watcher/reader to personal references.
There is then a further articulation: obviously we are not facing a botanic catalog and it misses every unity in the treatment, but the range of solutions widens as to cover large tracts of the history of images, to reveal the floral omnipresence in photography. Sure, we are in New York, and we think of the icy and sensual Flowers by Robert Mapplethorpe, but then also the photographic catalogs of floral shapes of Karl Blossfeldt or involuntary published sculptures by Salvador Dalì in Minotaure, 1934. The surrealist scope is definitely ground of choice for Giampaolo Ricò: we see it in solarized images as Man Ray. The chain of associations is really unstoppable, perhaps these photographs, this book, tell us, finally, that beauty is not so much the object, its icon in the situation evoked and brought back to evidence, as in the possibility of infinite relations between us and these fragile objects, shown and remembered in picture.