The Flower Within 2017-2022
In 2016 I was diagnosed with a rare chronic disease called Mxxxxxxxxx
Gxxxxx. In the beginning, the symptoms were affecting my eye muscles and
were giving me sporadic problems in seeing, in particular when walking fast.
At first, the changes were so mild that I couldn’t understand if it was my eyes
or my glasses that weren’t working properly.
One evening, while sitting in the front row of a bus, I noticed that the road
was splitting into two separate lines, going in opposite directions. The vision
became clearer and clearer. The two lines diverged, projecting each other into
a dark mirror-like space. Disoriented, I closed my eyes to not let the panic
Slowly but steadily, things got worse: objects in my sight were magically
duplicating, landscapes were unrecognisable because of distortion or
mirrored, like in a mirage. People’s faces were transformed too and they
reminded me of Francis Bacon’s portraits. After some time my memory
began to echo those new images, dreams reconstructed this new reality,
occasionally re-proposing kaleidoscopic pictures of my daily life.
In those moments I wondered if in the future, those memories would also
have these visually distorted features, or I would have just remembered the
physical dizziness connected with the experience.
Later on, because of another photographic project, I found myself walking
restlessly around the city. Some days I would walk from one side of the city
to the other, just to prove myself that I still had the strength that I had before
getting ill. I was pushing myself very hard, trying to create new images, and
walking was somehow helping me to ease the stress and the depression
caused by this new condition.
But, when the situation worsened to the point of transforming even a short
walk into an odyssey, I started to feel uncomfortable about the meaning and
result of my work. Most of the photographs I took didn’t represent me
anymore, I felt like somebody else was taking them. What was in those
images wasn’t what I had seen or what I had experienced. It was just the
result of an automatic reaction, the habit of a well-known photographic
The Flower Within is an attempt to reconstruct memories perceived in a
totally unique and intimate way. It’s a personal documentation of a human
condition, seen through the filter of the condition itself. But the project tells
also about a state of anxiety and fear triggered by the disease, by the sense of
helplessness and the realisation that changes in life are, sometimes,
uncontrollable and cannot be reversed.
The end result is an utterly subjective, intimate study of the fragility of
human nature. A diary of a compromised, sickened, visual experience but, in
some sort, also a proof of strength and stubbornness, a reaction against
adversities and the unknown. The exhibition is also set to create a conceptual
connection with the experience of Diplopia, or double vision. In the gallery
space, images are mirroring each other.The photographs communicate and
construct, visually and conceptually, an invisible narrative, which the viewers
are encouraged to unfold and decipher through their own personal
For the very first time I found myself working on a theme that looked at me
personally, instead than looking at others. Here I am describing my true
personal experience, my struggle to keep narrating stories with a medium
that, little by little, loses its concreteness in my everyday life.
Here I am the fundamental subject of my own human and photographic
Documentation of the Exhibition “The Flower Within”, photographic Gallery Hippolyte Helsinki 1/9-25/9/22
(doc. by M.Talassalo/Hippolyte)