Apr 10, 2019
Stefano is an Italian photographer who creates minimal oeuvres that explore topics such as absence, abandonment, emptiness and past presence in built places where people are supposed to have fun. In his series "Chinese fun", Stefano portrays empty fun parks around China, creating in this way surreal images where the prominent structures seem completely alien to their surrounding landscapes. And it is precisely this contradiction that makes his images very appealing and prone to explore in detail.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
SC - Thank you for your interest in my work. I was born in Rome and now I work between Rome and Paris. I started working as portrait photographer when I was 16 years old (now I am 56) but ten years ago I stopped completely the professional work and started to do personal projects and a book. I'm interested now also in video and contemporary art.
am - What is “Chinese fun” about?
SC - “Chinese Fun” is a work about abandonment, well not really abandonment, but absence, which interests me. I find that once the structures designed to welcome a vast number of people are empty, they lose their function of provoking a sort of forced fun and take on an aspect of surreal incongruence. I like to define my photos as portraits of people who aren't there.
In the collective imagination China is synonymous of crowded, therefore the opposition of the full versus the empty is truly much stronger here than elsewhere. The photographed places were visited by thousands of people, making the void even more alienating.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
SC - I like the works of Hiroshi Sugimoto, Toshio Shibata, Lynne Cohen, Geert Goiris, Lewis Baltz, Kenneth Josephson, etc.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
SC - "Mulholland Drive" by David Lynch.
am - What is your favourite photo book?
SC - It depends on the epoch, currently is "Evidence" by Mike Mandel and Larry Sultan.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
SC - Thank you!
All images © Stefano Cerio