18 Jan Interviewing Danilo Susi | From Italy to New York
“Danilo Susi’s work aims to enhance the beauty of nature through photos, where colours and light rise to brush and palette. ‘Tratti n.11’ is part of the Acquastratta series, in which water and its reflections become subjects of evocative and poetic pictures. His photography reminds of Gerhard Richter works, whose the distinctive trait is the overlapping of layers that leads to a layered interpretation of the world.”
Danilo Susi through the words of Giunti Editore, 2023
Before being a photographer, you worked as a Gastroenterology doctor. How and how much did being a doctor influence the style of photography you practice today?
I am, and will continue to be, both doctor and photographer, combining science and art, which I think is an important symbiosis, so much so that in 1994 I have founded the AMFI association with some other colleagues, it’s the Doctor and Photographer Italian Association, of which I was president for 25 years. The aim is to do health information and education through the beauty of artistic photography.
In addition to that, there is the technical aspect, I mean: doing digestive endoscopies for more than 30 years, I have trained my eye to the minimum, from the smallest injury to the detail of a photo; moreover I used slides in the analog era, so it was very important to pay attention to the technical framing and the subject.
In the early years of your career, you founded and dedicated yourself to various photography associations, as well as collaborated with many other artists in the field. How have these relationships influenced your artistic path?
In 1982 in Termoli, Molise, where I was working in the hospital, I founded together with other enthusiasts the GAF, Gruppo Amatoriale Fotografica (Amateur Group of Photographers): it was the first ever photoclub in Molise; I am still its president even if the technical activity is very reduced for contingent reasons. In 2000 I organized the 52nd National Congress of FIAF, Federazione Italiana Associazioni Fotografiche (Italian Federation of Photographic Associations), which was the only one in the region. Moreover, having also been Regional Delegate for FIAF for ten years, I had the opportunity to meet many masters of photography, both amateur and artistic. Especially culturally relevant were Lanfranco Colombo and Giuliana Traversa, who always encouraged me in the search for colors especially water. I got to know and hang out with Tony Vaccaro, a famous photographer from NYC but of Molise origin, who selected my photos on the Molise earthquake for the publication of the volume “Quando la mia vita cambierà” and hosted me in NY for a solo exhibition in 2011 on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy.
You have been part of many exhibitions and pubblications through the years. Which ones, in your opinion, have marked a turning point in your career?
Without any doubts, the first important exhibition with its catalogue in 2008, at the Rome Luxardo’s Gallery with the curator Eva Clausen, who really appreciated the title “Acquastratta”, which later became a registered trademark. Moreover, my project was shared with the other two artists, Carlo d’Orta and Albano Paolinelli, and “Astrattismi Paralleli” and “Realismo Astratto” were born, and with the guidance of the critic Valerio Dehò, those became itinerant exhibitions, with the artistic catalogue edit by Edizioni Tracce in Pescara, and being considered amongst the new avant-guards in the volume “La via Italiana all’Informale”, curated by Virgilio Patarini ed. Monadadori 2013.
Personally, I have published 14 book and photography’s catalogues.
Given the wide production and great variety of your works, you can be called an “Experimentalist” photographer. Among the various styles and techniques you have used, is there one in particular that inspires you in creating your works?
My approach to photography began from a young age. At that time I was interested in I.R. photography, and already as a student I made some posters in 1972 with Decor System in Rome and Recordati in Milan and was included in the two Bolaffi Catalogues of Photography that came out in the 1970s.
Actually I consider myself a research naif photographer: I am interested in the search for the detail found in nature; my photos have no technical retouching, I reproduce the colors that nature offers us in its various shades, especially water, which I consider a true metamorphosis of nature. Of course, one must have a trained eye (as I said above) and be able to look as well as see and observe even better the detail, which in its essence becomes the part for the whole. I was inspired by the Impressionists, especially Claude Monet, trying to catch the light at the right moment, according to the very definition of photography. This research was compared to the historical production of Master Gerhard Richter and published in the volume CONGIUNTI in 2023 by Daniele Radini Tedeschi.
You define water as a color palette. Having lived between two seaside cities had a great influence on you, and inspired you to start photographing water. Is there a particular meaning for which you chose this element?
Water is a source of life, from biology to nature, from people to animals and plants. It is always alive and diverse, inspiring joy vigor wonder fear. By definition it is colorless, so research continually drives me to find its colors according to incident light. Living in seaside towns has made it easier for me, but there is a lot of water from rivers, lakes, fountains in my images. Recently I photographed the human body floating in water, stretching and distorting in a true metamorphosis.
In 2012, following a visit to Paris, he was inspired and participated in Milan in “La Natura che Veste”, an exhibition combining photography and the world of fashion. In addition to photography, he then created physical works of Design. Where did the need and desire to experiment with the new link between Fashion and Photography come from?
In 2012 at Palazzo Isimbardi, at the invitation of the fashion department of the then Province of Milan, I exhibited prototypes, later made in silk, of shawls, scarves, pareji. The idea was simple: reproducing nature instead of printing something unnatural on fabrics. But it’s not easy to get even young designers to understand it! In 2018, some dresses made by young Francesca Vitale were exhibited and participated in the fashion show held by Pola Cecchi in Florence. In September 2023 at the Chicchimavie atelier in Via Pietro Maroncelli in Milan, I was invited by Roberto Mutti to exhibit the new works of “La natura che veste” and to participate for the third time in the Photofestival right during the fashion week. Actually I went even further than fashion and, in collaboration with some goldsmiths in Pescara, I made jewelry always coming from one of my photographic images: in a particular way I produced “Il cuore del lago”, which is also a registered trademark and refers to Lake Scanno in Abruzzo, which seen from above is heart-shaped.
What projects are you working on that you want to accomplish in the future?
For several years I have been collaborating with the Tivarnella Art Gallery run by Enea Chersicola of Trieste and I am among the artists of ARTOUR-O il MUST, an international project conceived by Tiziana Leopizzi of Genoa, and of Tecnografia of Reggio Emilia. The search for the colors of water continues to float.
I am making two new series:
“Quadruplice”, combining and doubling the original image composes others that are completely different and evocative.
“The red light” is inspired by and dedicated to Maestro Achille Pace, who passed away a few years ago, from Termolese, who was part of the Roman avant-garde of the 1950s-60s with his “thread.”
I would love to collaborate with young designers who can use my color research and bring it to life in women’s clothes.
His works have been certified and appraised by Expertise by Paolo Levi to be worth from €700 and up to €3000 (January, 2019).
The artist continues to work on his series and enlarge his production of photos. The most important series are Acquastratta, Sabbia, La natura che veste and many other. The most recent one, The Red Light, has started in 2024 and it’s a work in progress.
It’s important to enlight his most recent 2023 exhibition in Rome, Milan and New York.
Let’s discover more about the works in his page on Arte Laguna World.