Caterina Notte: Woman's Bodies Rewriting Fragility
By Erika Argiolas
Caterina Notte's passion for photography sinks its roots in a pure feeling, full of observation, desire, need for change and a desire to open herself to another dimension. A dimension - as she said - “other”, “different from me”. Her work originates from the use of an old A4-size scanner, with which the artist consciously and assiduously exploited her time to experiment, scanning different parts of her body and reassembling it digitally. The final result was certainly a reality, but perhaps - at the end - only a small part of it was real. From that moment on, the transition to video and photography was short. In fact, Caterina is completely at ease in using her camera and this allows her to express her malleability 100%. It is the medium through which she can finally "stop and perform reality", penetrate the movement and give the world a new image. Photography is an absolutely congenial method, which lends itself to sharing what we believe to be a fleeting moment, which stops reality and allows you to capture that exact moment. Caterina feels herself inside the box of Schrödinger's cat, but with the cat precisely.
|INFLUENCES|Caterina's is a performative type of photography and behind every shot there is a great work of preparation and contemplation that can even last days. But after this intense and elaborate preamble, the moment of the shot is without delay or compromise, full of empathy, immediate and precise. During the creative and performative act, all patterns are broken, not only by the person who creates the photograph in one shot, but also by the protagonist / subject. This intense collaboration, made up of intentions, wills and movements, creates the photograph, as if it were a still-frame of a narrative that actually appears longer. Caterina Notte's art certainly has references to the authors of the past but also of the present belonging to the world of photography but also of painting, cinema and literature. From Konrad's visions of human drifts to Marquez's magical dreamy atmospheres, from Beuys's rigorous conceptual austerity to the silent waiting that is expressed in Edward Hopper's paintings. Caterina Notte also finds inspiration and congeniality in the reasoned coldness of Christopher Nolan's movies, that same coldness that is effective to create a sort of distance and cooling between her and the immortalized "s-oggetto" (subject), absolutely fundamental in the realization and lucid representation. of a moment. Her female shots find inspiration and certainly aspire to the works of great photographers such as Jeff Wall, Philip Lorca diCorcia, Peter Lindbergh and above all, the works of Ellen Von Unwerth with her women full of sexuality, strong and emancipated, free in an irreverent world and fully feminine.
|PREDATOR: FRAGILITY IS POWER|Speaking of female world, we come to one of her projects, which is currently achieving great success, reaching the threshold of virality. I'm talking about: PREDATOR. The project was born in 2010, when the artist's attention was captured by 4 little girls, from which a collaboration began. She put them inside an old blue van, covered with surgical gauze and the result was shocking: looking at those photos you'll feel catapulted into a war scenario, with an overwhelming force; the scene strikes us and annihilates us, showing a fragility that was worth immortalizing. The artist's project is a rewrite of beauty and fragility. Caterina Notte says: "the impossibility of being weak/fragile is innate in the human being, weakness is unquestionably our power". The photographs, however, exude strength and aggression, the flesh of the subjects appears exposed, but at the same time covered and protected by gauze to indicate precisely this fragility and vulnerability. The choice of using the bandages is targeted and precise and voluntary is the reference to suffering, to the condition of the victim and consequently to the weak subject. But her bandages do not cover and do not hide entirely, but on the contrary, them reveal the strength and determination of women and girls, who play an upside-down role. From victim they become predators and the viewer inevitably falls into this trap, thus becoming prey. The project is driven - as the artist says - by a feeling of rebellion and a need to reaffirm her strength, as a body, as a person, as a woman. A desire to give conceptual but also visual balance. In her works you can perceive - and is evident - a great desire to rewrite the canons and certainly to give a new face and a new body to "fragility". We live in a society in which image, aesthetics and appearance are now everything and assume a practically fundamental importance, in which especially the figure of the woman continues to be the center of objectification - a now common practice that continues to interests of industries, those of the patriarchal system of the white race. Caterina's work is a work of liberation from the male visual appropriation of woman's sexuality, which unfortunately still today causes disorientation and discomfort. It is a work of emancipation from the male gaze that dominates undisputed in fashion advertising and above all in real life.
|THE ROLE OF THE BODY IN HER WORKS|Over the centuries, the woman's body has always been commodified, undressed and dressed up by the male gaze. Its power has always been surgically controlled and this element is even more evident in the history of photography, as the artist claims. In fact, the woman's body has always been immortalized in its suffering, in its annihilation of femininity as a mother or in its being an object of desire. But Caterina has much more to tell and to talk about, the story of our body, a body that is our bulwark but also a primary tool for perception of the world. The artist's intent is to give a new image to this beauty, this weakness and this body, without disfiguring or limiting it but rather using it to the fullest of its power. In fact, Caterina Notte affirms that there is an innate need for beauty - even if it is very difficult to accept - and that there is an essential need to rewrite fragility through the rewriting of today's pre-established standards of beauty. Beauty and fragility are intrinsically inseparable, one depends on the other and in fragility there is not only our beauty but also our innate power. Therefore, at the basis of Caterina Notte's artistic research there is certainly the body, which is seen as an access device to duality that makes it both subject and object. In this constant search for another dimension and the desire to give it new meanings, Caterina perceives herself as a perceptive body, as a medium through which information is acquired from the external world from which to draw new experiences and emotions, because inevitably our body will relate to external impulses and consequently will react to them. So to the question "Do you have a body or are you a body?", Catherine replies "I am the body that I possess". This statement contains a thousand reflections that also bring to mind fundamental themes such as self-acceptance, once again in the maximum acceptance of the self as a body in all its forms and in its immense beauty, but also in its weakness and intrinsic extreme strength. And speaking of the body and relationships with it, we come to the great link that has inevitably been created with the advent of the internet between the body and virtual reality in the works of Caterina Notte. In this reality, the body has a thousand possibilities of dematerialization and being in real time practically anywhere in the world. In this dimension the body loses its classic dichotomy, to pass from physical to virtual body. This issue has been dealt with a lot in the ALIENS series by Caterina Notte, in which the artist investigates the body and the flesh, with the intention of shaking the balance that we ourselves create as spectators, not so much in an exhibitionist way, not exaggerating the gesture or aesthetic that has been pushed to the point of horror. The advent of the internet therefore grants the possibility of placing the viewer in front of a photograph that is not created by his/her perception of the world, but by that of the artist, which at the same time transforme it into language that can then be consequently recognized, appropriate and can be cause / effect of the activation of new experiences by the observing subject.
|PANDEMIC INTERACTION AND PROJECTS|The advent of the pandemic - a black swan that has upset any status quo, even the psychological one - as the artist tells us, was an event that certainly led to great reflections and changes, and precisely the awareness of knowing that nothing will ever be the same again and that everything has inevitably been changed. This awareness has led the artist to new reflections on herself as a single individual but also on her way of relating to art, photography and video production. This meant that the artist matured a new need, that of finding new solutions in artistic production and in her way of relating to this radical change. This new situation, however negative it may have been, has however led the artist to reflect on her origins and on what she had been up to that moment, on how fundamental it is not to abandon one's roots and not forget them, but at the same time about how important it is to do new research and give yourself new perspectives and changes. Bringing incurable cracks to light, tackling them with strength and determination, accepting them and even analyzing them even more thoroughly. All this has created a new need, that of getting even closer to the viewer and the need and responsibility to be present with one's own artistic production and one's thinking on various fronts. Thus arises the need to be even more present on the virtual network, on the internet.
|PREDATOR UBIQUITY AND TIK TOK|Aimed to women, girls and adolescents from all over the world who want to demonstrate and show their status as free, strong and aware people: “beyond the bandages she put on them”. The project is certainly exciting and involving, it concerns us all closely and whose intent is to transform itself into a choral, "ubiquitous" event to be approached in an intimate way but with a look that must necessarily be "universal". This recently born project involves the TIK TOK platform, which, especially in the period of the pandemic, has had great success and has been used by varying in age users. The intent is to involve as many participants as possible: a large number of users are invited to make a 60-second video in which they will have to try to get rid of the artist's bandages, in full autonomy. The videos will be collected and re-uploaded on a specific day and at a specific time. The intent is to make PREDATOR UBIQUITY simultaneously real. In that precise moment, every physical distance will be automatically canceled, the various networks of relationships will intersect and coexist in a single great and exciting moment. If you want to partecipate at this collective performance on Tik Tok, click here.
|OTHER PROJECTS|Among the various upcoming projects, Caterina Notte will also be the protagonist of the new video series Freezdom, in which she will be a simple observer of freedom. A freedom, however, lived in a state of continuous and uninterrupted loop. Freezdom is a freedom frozen in a moment that expands to infinity, at the same time freeing itself from this state of freezing. A photographic project is also underway which will always have the woman with her lovable and varied universe at the center, which will culminate in the creation of a new volume published by the Rome-based “Cultura e dintorni” publisher. Publishing Company that has always been used in a process of investigation and research in the context of the union and contamination of languages. Among the various interests and commitments of the artist, there is also the evaluation of any collaborations with some important associations that fight violence against women. The intent is to make the ultimate goal of the project become even more social, because art must absolutely immerse itself in reality, sink its roots in current problems, in the conflicts we hear about every day and in this great and complex discourse become the bearer of solutions, without however departing from beauty.
|THOUGHTS|Caterina Notte's photographs exude beauty, but not a stereotyped or canonized one, rather a beauty close to everyday life. Certainly her is a conceptual art, which with its immediacy aims to strike you deeply and demands reflection from you. The bodies of her works are free from any canonization, they are not perfect and for this reason they are immensely beautiful. They are free bodies to express themselves to the maximum power. The gazes are full of passion, strength, determination and this is the strenght of Caterina Notte's works, these art works are an anomalous wave of emotions, those emotions that we don't usually get carried away by, that we sometimes try to hide. Her works are a call, you have to let yourself go and be overwhelmed by their strong meanings! In her works you can perceive a great desire to rewrite the canons and to give a new face and a new body to "fragility" She affirms that there is an innate need for beauty - even if it is very difficult to accept - and that there is an essential need to rewrite fragility through the rewriting of today's pre-established standards of beauty. She want rewrite fragility..