"Presenza|Essenza," SACI 1st-Year MFA in Photography Students Exhibit at Tethys Gallery | SACI College of Art & Design Florence


Alumni & Exhibitions

"Presenza|Essenza," SACI 1st-Year MFA in Photography Students Exhibit at Tethys Gallery

Tethys Gallery, Via dei Vellutini 17/R, Florence

First-year SACI MFA in Photography students exhibit selected works at Tethys Gallery in Florence, Italy.

SACI 1st-year MFA in Photography students, Kelli M. Perletti and Victor Restrepo, presented a selection of works for their exhibition "Presenza|Essenza," held on April 11th at Tethys Gallery, a prestigious gallery in Florence devoted to fine art photography. The works on view represented the research and portfolios the students have developed thus far throughout their first year in the program, under the guidance of program co-directors Romeo Di Loreto and Jacopo Santini along with other mentors and artists in the field of photography. "Presenza|Essenza" was on view from April 11-14, 2019.

Learn more about the MFA in Photography program at SACI.

Kelli M. Perletti

When we have a cultural history, we have a foundation to grow from; when we are so far removed or even denied that history, we float aimlessly, continually seeking out that connection.

This body of work explores the psychological process of tracing ancestral roots and is the physical manifestation of a reconciliation with that past. Starting with a few names, locations, and photographs, I have begun to know the people who came before me and the places and lives they uprooted themselves from before making the journey to America.

Through exploring my own family history and unearthing stories that were meant to remain buried, I have come to an understanding of the dynamics that exist within my family, and myself. But beyond my personal history, I have increasingly recognized the trend towards denying and removing cultural connections, within the United States in particular, and how damaging that can be. Knowing the people you come from and what they have experienced is knowing hidden parts of yourself, and knowing why you react to certain situations the way you do.

Working exclusively with a toy film camera, these self-portraits contain important moments along the journey of this deeply psychological process. The use of multiple exposures has facilitated the creation of surrealistic landscapes, encrypted with symbols and disorientation. Each photograph holds a physical presence of the body, whether apparent or dissolved beyond all recognition.

Victor Restrepo

With time, I have realized that what I am interested in and what makes me create are the inner worlds, how to share them, creating bridges between the inside and the outside, crossing barriers and sharing information from both ends. How to talk about individual experiences that resonate with collective ones. Even if we humans are social by nature, we need to decipher how to connect. In Singularidades, the photography series, I ask people close to me to take me to a public space where they feel at home, a place where they unravel, and the layers of the self become thin enough until they disappear. An invitation to inhabit and share this Time-Space of just simply being. Where I am just the spectator of an event that oscillates from public to private, the modification of the physical space being transformed by the opening of the inner world of this people’s singular identities.

If these photographs were all about individuality, Membrana is all about a Collective: the audio piece is based on the concept of permeability. Using one of the most important characteristics of sound, the capacity to influence the way we experience a moment without visually interfering, but adding a layer that holds and unifies all the signals that other senses receive. While we perceive sight as the sense that provides us with the more accurate version of the reality around us, hearing is something that we cannot decide to ignore, accompanying us in fake silence and always receiving waves of signals. It is the echo of ourselves, a body that is not only our own but also an assemblage of selves. An essence that passes from one to another, as a network of relations, where singularity stops being a concept and blurs into community, where the “I” is always linked to the others. An ambiguous being that is multiple and whole.

In Vulnus, I return to the self, the constant exploration of the deepest corners in me. This series made of videos of durational performances taken as self-portraits, the portraits of some of the others that live inside me and this body. Vulnerability is the essence in these works, experiencing it to gain resilience, therefore turning it into a strength. 

Root Sync is the closing chapter, an integration ritual on how to live whole-hearted, accepting all desired and non-desired sides. A burial and a birth, the constant movement of cycles. To take the mind to a place where being vulnerable is not comfortable nor excruciating but necessary, to let ourselves be deeply seen and felt. Accepting the state of being exposed to the possibility of being harmed but also being supported.  


Congratulations to our students for their hard work this year!

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