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The roots are oriented towards water


A fairy tale is a story of adventures in which the marvelous dominates. Fairy tales live of an ambiguous space-time location and arise from a psychic necessity: elaborating a new personal narration of a distant common past.

In this way this story develops which returns to the country of origin, mine. It was born subconsciously, between the neighbors and the valley, a few months before my father died of cancer, in October 2017. During that summer he read Bar Sport by S.Benni and I read La luna e i falò by C.Pavese. This project lies between his laughter and my melancholy, lightness of our comic daily life and weight of reality that already becomes memory. A visual diary that goes along the banks of that river that nourished my youth and that now cradles my pain.

He always told me that trout die if they don’t live in a clean water. The roots are oriented toward water is my clean water, the only way I know to stay with him again among the tomatoes of his vegatable garden.

Camilla Piana

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Camilla Piana, The roots are oriented towards the water, courtesy the artist

" Un paese ci vuole, non fosse che per il gusto di andarsene via. Un paese vuol dire non essere soli, sapere che nella gente, nelle piante, nella terra, c'è qualcosa di tuo, che anche quando non ci sei resta ad aspettarti. "

Cesare Pavese, La luna e i falò 

"You need a village, even if only for the impulse to leave it. A village means you're not alone, know that there's something belonging to you in the people, the plants, the land, staying and waiting even if you're not there. "

Cesare Pavese, The Moon and the Bonfire

Nostalgia, the word we use to define our affectionate longing for the past, comes from the greek nostos "return home" and algos "pain". Nostos is the journey and the perilous return of the Homeric hero, and this lack, this melancholy desire, comes first of all from a sense of belonging to a place, a deep bond with our roots. Those of Camilla Piana are found in the hilly valleys crossed by the Trebbia river, in Emilia-Romagna. She was reading La luna e i falò in the summer of 2017, when this work began, back home, just a few months before she lost her father. If Camilla's project shares with Cesare Pavese's masterpiece a strong connection with her origins, tinged with melancholy, she does not seem to have lost the enchanted gaze of childhood, her return is not veiled with the harsh disappointment felt by Anguilla, the protagonist of the book. In a rural world bathed in sunlight, her images are still pervaded by a fairytale atmosphere. An almost childlike curiosity and wonder accompany her discovery of little details, objects, shadows and forms. Her photographs emerge in the folds between documentary and poetry, fragments of everyday experiences and encounters. She plays with colors and the chromatic force of primary tones, yellows, reds, blues. The heroes of her fairytale are the local neighbors, the men and women living in the village and surrounding area, who carry the memories and the histories of this land. She glances at the white hair, the wrinkles, the signs of old age with sympathy, respect, a little tenderness. Yet, like in most fairy tales, the lightness, even a certain humor, are blurred with an impalpable gravity, un indefinite feeling of strangeness and precariousness. This is also a story of loss, of mourning. Of holding on fleeting moments in the apparent timelessness of habits and landscapes, of confronting the fragility of life with the strength of memory and affection. 

Rachele Ceccarelli

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Camilla Piana, The roots are oriented towards the water, courtesy the artist


Camilla Piana was born in Autumn, on 1988, in Italy. From 2014, she is a documentary fine art photographer. Through a cinematographic and contemplative vision of landscape and portraiture, her research is focused on the relationship between dream and reality, truth and comedy, documentary and poetry. She is working on two long-term projects, one in Eritrea, one in her country of origin: both moved by the experience
of love. In 2018 she was selected for the Nikon-NOOR Academy masterclass in Turin. In 2019 he exhibited in Tel Aviv among the winners of the PhotoIS “Fantasia” call: RAEL. In 2020 she was selected among the winners of “REFOCUS-Open photographic call on the Italian territory at the time of the lockdown” promoted by the Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity (DGCC) of the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities and for Tourism. Actually she lives and works in Milan, Italy.

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