Visions, Decoded #06: Fabio Sgroi - The new aesthetics of ruins
(για ελληνικά πατήστε εδώ)
In his series of black and white panoramas, the Italian photographer Fabio Sgroi, with experience in photojournalism and artistic photography, aptly creates diverse levels of temporality. The urban Sicilian landscape is determined by two different enclaves: the past and the present, as it is presented by the human-made constructions in their natural space. Nevertheless, in Palermo of 2008, the temporal identities are presented more volatile than ever; our vision stops in front of an exclusionary throttle, a frame that constrains the world of ruins and glorifies the city’s older structures, whose obsoleteness conveys a controversial dimension. In three different levels, Sgroi attempts to depict the iconographic complexity of modern city and to clarify that the coexistence of different temporal dimensions is inevitable, but also it creates space and time, as it leads to a synthesis of mentalities about history.
Evaluating all the elements that compose his images, while he seemingly appears that he wants to conceal the urban dump from his viewer, Sgroi actually classifies it in the same category with the rest of his composition’s elements. He draws up a new aesthetic of ruins, especially in Palermo, and in Sicily in general, and he searches for their place in our orderly settled visual perception, where the ruined is mismatched and, therefore, useless. However, as R. Ginsberg  also notices,
“Breaking out of form, the materials break into our presence. Not inert and dead, but moving and vital, the materiality of the ruin awakens something substantial within us”.
In this respect, Sgroi features the significance of inert elements and urban ruins, placing them in a dialectical relationship with the old and the new, the even older and its reflections.
 R. Ginsberg, The Aesthetics of Ruins, Amsterdam & New York, Rodopi, 2004, 1.
(View selected photos from the panning series of Fabio Sgroi)
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Ursula-Helen Kassaveti (photo by Vivi Kaparou) was born in Athens in 1980. She holds a B.A. in Literature (University of Athens, Athens School of Philosophy), a M.A. in Cultural Studies (University of Athens, Department of Communication and Mass Media) and a Ph.D. in Film, Genre Theory and Sociology at the same department. Her research interests revolve around Popular Culture (film/music), Visual Ethnography, and Cultural Studies. She has been a post-doc researcher at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where she co-taught the undergraduate module “Social History of Mass Media” (2015) and is now a research fellow at University of Patras. She has made various announcements in international and Greek conferences and has published articles and a monography on film and media. She teaches “Discourse and Visual Analysis” and “Greek Film & Culture” at “Kostis Palamas” Longlife Education Program at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens.