photos © Carlotta Bertelli - all rights reserved

2023, Biagini


Carlotta Bertelli’s gaze is one of great integrity, able to zone in on the unique character of persons, moments and things, transforming the photographic medium into a spontaneous extention of the self, a wide-meshed and close contact with all that exists.
Click by click, Carlotta’s practice thus engenders far from casual, deeply touching connections of stories, faces and places, simple rituals, customs and behaviours that she can observe not only in her travels around the world, but on her home ground in the Val d’Orcia.
Sequences of direct, poetic images, unmistakably free from artifice and technicism, from posing, special effects or touch-ups. Analogue photographs clear as mirrors that reflect back to us the enchantment of being in the world. The unexplicable mystery of what distinguishes and connects us in one community. The human scale of great cities and small villages. The person inscribed in the lines of private gardens and public parks, architectural perspectives or secluded woodland corners, large open views or tiny details. The involuntary elegance of subjects who could be anyone: friends, acquaintances, occasional encounters.
“The Bench” is one of those stories. It takes shape on the background of one simple bench, immersed in the nameless quiet of views en plein air—yet, far from a haphazard set of photographs, it is an evocative and organic work, deeply rooted and emblematically connected with modern representational practices. From Claude Monet to Mark Rothko, from John Gossage to Diane Arbus, from Louise Lawler to Jenny Holzer, from great painting to great photography, this bench contextualizes identities, customs and fashions, heritage and messages dating back over a century.
Carlotta Bertelli has made of “The Bench” a carefully considered, highly personal red thread, a platform for human rest and encounter, a narrative pretext. And above all, a non-commercial homage to her friends at Biagini, a foremost brand in leather goods, whose integrity and clear-cut style her images capture and highlight. On her bench, bags become presences suggesting the possibility of other existences, indispensable companions of our nomadic roaming and resting, witnesses to our present time as we live through it.
Identity is thus configured as an indivisible composition of physiognomical traits and postures, clothing and accessories, distinction and elusiveness. A trans-epochal time sequence of creatures at pause, intense and beautiful as works on a plinth. whether portrayed on a small house bench in the Val d’Orcia or framed in the uncanny atmosphere of a New York City skyline.

Mariuccia Casadio for Carlotta, July 2023