a Project space
25 calvin st, spitalfields, london e1 6nw
tel/ fax: 020 7247 5227

Denis Masi
Portraits and Passion
Open to the public:
Saturday 2nd - Sunday 17th Oct 2004
13:00 - 18:00

...since 1998 Masi has been taking photographs of individuals in groups or crowds at public events most notably the Palio in Siena. More recently he has photographed a street protest, a football match, a funeral and the public appearance of the Pope on Easter Friday. Many of these image draw attention to the nature of 'spectacle' by focussing on its effect on spectators. In this essay I want to examine Masi's creation of a specific kind of 'visuality' through these portraits that reinforces the connectivity and social cohesion created by these kinds of rituals. The presence of this visuality I want to argue, allows traditions like the celebration of Santa Rosa to be seen as forms of resistance against the more dominant account of modernity in which flux ad change is valorised over fixity...

...Masi's images are not portraiture in the conventional sense of representations of a personality conveyed through dress, demeanour and gestures. Rather portraiture in his work should be taken more literally as a drawing out, a capturing, a lure of the inner life, cast in a particular outer form or physiognomy that acts as a 'chariot' to propel this inner dynamism forward into the visible world. The human face is perhaps the most most powerful and direct way in which the self, the subject, might be signified. It is perhaps for this reason that the majority of Masi's previous work made oblique refernces to a human presence. He has described this in direct allusion to the subject as 'the human understood' which takes on another meaning in these portraits...

–Amna Malik

Via Crucis
Pope John Paul II
Rome 2003

movie clip of event - 2 min 22 sec

(QuickTime required)

Manifestazione 1 & 2
February 15 (peace march)
Rome 2003

Alberto Sordi
Rome 2003

Piazza Duomo
Naples 2003

Strength& Splendour
Santa Rosa
Viterbo 2003

Jacques Derrida
La Pensee du Tremblement
Miena 2004