C r i t i c a l   r e v i e w

Helmut Gernsheim, Arizona State University, 1978

Photography is a form of abstraction, a selection made out from nature, a fragment of reality. The complete abstraction, that is, the reduction to a minimum of lines, represents the most difficult composing form and I have never met anyone else capable to “perceive” like Mandrian, within the field of photography, as Victor Gianella does. The seeming composing easiness is yet sustained by a long practice in reducing the image to its fundamental elements. The more a single detail is isolated from its context and thus seen in contrast with another fragment (in our thoughts generally not associated to it), the more original the visual effect proves to be. We do not recognize the subject in its wholeness, and the fragment acquires now life on its own. Gianella is fascinated by the fragmentation of the visible world into parts that remains hidden and concealed to most of us. His magical images that transcends from the reality of the object self, are pictorial as for their conception and are created purely through technical means. It pertains to objects of daily use: balloons valves, gas knobs, a rip on a curtain, brush strokes, boats.
These superb chromatic compositions makes of Victor Gianella, the most original expressionist abstract photographer.

Giuliana Scimé, Corriere della Sera, Milano, 1979

Gianella draws out particulars, through the filter of his gentle sensitivity, he shows to us a whole world of forms and colors, that we wouldn't ever have seen otherwise. It is perhaps to the geniality of the man that we owe this extraordinary artistic recovery. Victor Gianella is such a shy and modest person, to be almost afraid of the dimensions of the world, and his attention is hence drawn by what is habitually considered insignificant.
He knows how to uncover hidden and concealed particulars merged amidst greater things: the magic of a subtle branch, the harmony of a few paint drops on a wall, the composing rigor of a fish net.
Victor Gianella's photos are an explosion of joy for life, a fantastic journey within the imagination, a liberation from far too constraining realities, a breaking free from traditional mental frames.
In the midst of so much photography, that pretends to wrap within one single image, the universality of meanings, Gianella's work is a liberating experiment of creativity and the confirmation that the photographic camera is a particularly ductile instrument, just like a paintbrush or a chisel.

Ivo Monighetti, Mendrisio, 1979

The eye finds inside the camera, the complicity of the gaze that rips out things from habit and from distraction, to make them raise to the fantastic dimension of inner life. There is always something “pervert” in the gaze that, within the framing, deceives reality. And yet, with marked modesty, Victor Gianella assumes the risk, but with wariness, for a gentle “perversion”. His subjects aren't the endless suggestions of a body, of a naked body or a gesture, but rather apparent bagatelles, crumbs, shreds, remnants of objects around us, worn out by time. Compelled to the stringent morality of the gaze, hence in tension with opposite forces that would make him drift always elsewhere, he stops his gaze, binding its “irrelevance” to the perfect form of a square. Gianella knows that the small certainties of life are made out of renunciations.
Perhaps the simplicity of this (forgive us for the expression) “immaculate Peeping Tom”, lies on this: let things, injured and consumed by time, remain still, even though that under the action of the gaze at first, and subsequently under the acids, they become different.

Pino Brioschi, Rodi Fiesso, 2003

I was asked to make a small introduction to this photographic exhibition of Victor Gianella. If, from one hand, I felt honored by such a request, on the other I felt frightened. I had to talk about a greater photographer than I am, that I saw as a master, as an example of purity, and this was creating great embarrassment. I only knew Victor Gianella through some of his works featured in photographic revues and I thought that the author of such magic composition, was a person too difficult to approach. This exhibition at Dazio Grande, permitted me to meet him personally. With great surprise, I've discovered a very humble person, enthusiastic about his work, very cordial and keen to transmit his passion for this research of images, unearthed from where nobody would look for; willing to explain his way to face the subjects, without concealing doubts and fears that sometimes will make him insecure. His modesty, has increased my admiration for his work. I was able to discover once again that where there is knowledge, art, poetry, there can only be humility and love...
The great ability of the photographer lies in dealing with these fragments with sensibility and alchemical precision, projecting his own emotions until obtaining that grand equilibrium between lights, shadows, shapes and colors.
This operation is no more and no less what painting is, even though that, more advanced technological instruments have been used as paintbrush. Let us not forget that “Photography” means writing with light.