100 x 100 cm / 60 x 60 cm, C-print Fuji Matt Crystal archive paper, © 2013
In “New Vesuvian Landscapes” series, the photographer wanted to analyze one of the most fascinating natural beauty of his homeland: Vesuvius, Campania. The landscape on the volcano’s slopes is unique in the world, as well as for its beauty and also for its history. In 1995, it became a National Natural Park, since, by the end of the seventeenth century, it had fascinated many travelers, being one of the beautiful destinations of the Grand Tour. Active volcano but in a quiescent state since 1944, Vesuvius is just a pretext for the photographer to actually speak of a symbolic paradox. Today, population’s assimilation of the rules of environment protection is almost non-existent. Even because of its inactivity, from the late ‘40s onwards, there has been an enormous abusive settlement in the zones around the volcano which is not only against any kind of logic and rule of environment preservation, but also safety. The images that the photographer from Campania presents are round shaped and remember the precious souvenirs of the Grand Tour; however, they show us the ugliness of our time. The cement and the instability of these buildings have so very little to do with the classic beauties we would like to recall. In Gigi Cifali’s works, therefore the complaint filters through this comparison with the past: on the one hand the photographer elevates his pictures to beautiful postcard images, frozen in time; on the other hand, he moves a profound criticism of the local population, which is totally indifferent to the nature and history of these places.