It’s a staggering volume of film (and oy – chemistry!), which, is saying a lot for a man who already expressed consternation over his carbon footprint in a 2007 interview with Michele Gerber Klein for Bomb Magazine. Anyway, all this shooting — combined with his dauntless enthusiasm and relentless drive has produced an equally staggering volume of known visual material. Over the years Polidori’s work has been been seen in countless magazines, he’s published over a dozen books and continuously exhibits in galleries and museums around the world. It fact, one could argue that the world itself — is his palate.
So, while awe inspiring, it is not a total surprise that one of his current projects combines massive amounts of film with widely sweeping vistas of urban landscapes in a proportion unseen by anyone before. Regarding this work: I’ll step out on a limb here and say I truly believe that this man’s single-minded obsessive quest to encapsulate his vision has lead to a benchmark in photographic reproduction unseen before — and I invite anyone to show me otherwise. Yes, perhaps the US military (or NASA) has a few tricks that they have not revealed yet … but this man stands alone, with his two feet on the earth — and under his own volition uses an 11 x 14 view camera to capture what is before him in exacting detail. And as if that were not enough, he’s now compositing multiples of these huge negatives into enormous files and outputs that — again — I do not believe anyone has ever seen the likes of before.
Robert Polidori: Favela Rocinha # 1, Rio de Janeiro, 2009
112.2″ x 176.9″ UV cured ink on aluminum
— in the panoramas of his series entitled Dendritic Cities [Polidori] confronts the phenomenon of the rampant growth of so-called cités sauvages, whose uncontrolled spread around the edges of major cities follows no principle of urban planning, but is rather a direct result of socioeconomic conditions. Whether it is a slum in India or a Favela in Brazil, Polidori is always fascinated by such cities, which “spring up suddenly and disappear again after 50 years. They are temporary structures that grow up out of necessity.”
Robert Polidori: Dharavi # 1, Mumbai, 2008
58″ x 107.4″ UV cured ink on aluminum
Bottega Veneta, Fall 2011
It’s the first time the house has worked with Polidori, but he is the latest in a string of artists and photographers to shoot Bottega Veneta’s campaigns. Polidori, whose portfolio includes images of the restoration of Versailles, the aftermath of Chernobyl and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, follows the likes of Robert Longo, Sam Taylor-Wood and Alex Prager. He worked with models for the first time, portrayed against the background of the 16th century Palazzo Papadopoli, on Venice’s Grand Canal.
“What is unusual about Robert’s work is that it both documents and interrogates,” said Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier. “His attention to detail creates layersof meaning that extend beyond the formal beauty of his images. I was interested in seeing what would result if he turned his lens on Bottega Veneta’s design and the brand’s roots in the Veneto, specifically Venice.”
Polidori works with a custom-built large-format camera. The end result is a selection of photos charged with ample and voluptuous details in a vibrant color palette that includes bright shades of carnelian, orange resina and peridot.
The campaign will bow in August. A video documenting the photo shoot will be added in July to the Art of Collaboration video series at bottegaveneta.com.
Dedicated to the Muse of Memory By Marta Galli and Caterina Lunghi
Read the full article at Muse Magazine’s website (scroll down for the English translation).