The first selfportraits
I am Rita Santanatoglia (Alìta) , an Italian artist. I was born in 1979.
Young women, often friends, have been the first subject of my photographs.
Simultaneously, in 2002, I started taking self-portraits. Self-portrait soon became my artistic language, the means of research of my true identity.
In 2005 I obtained my degree at School of Fine Arts in Macerata. I also studied in the School of Fine Art in Rennes, France, for the Erasmus project.
In Rennes, I learned to develop and to print black and white film in the darkroom guided by Professor Tom Drahos.
Later I moved to Rome where I obtained my second degree at the School of Fine Arts. Thanks to a Schoolship, I have been an Assistant Professor of Photography, Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma, Chair Professor Andrea Attardi.
In Rome, my research became more introspective. I started to take pictures to investigate the meanders of the city, its walls, its ruins, trying to immortalize that fleeting self, in the exteriors and interiors of Rome.
The Poetics of Cocoon
In 2011 I moved to Paris, Mecca of artistic experimentation and buildings in decline.
My research became more feverish and restless. The inner self is outlined in the sharpness of the COCOON.
The cocoon identifies my inner world. In this inner world, I should feel protected, but in reality, this shell is an impenetrable cage. This cage has crumbling walls, like those of old buildings.
In this closed space, identity tries to find its development and accomplishment…anguished research for a way out!
That is why my self-portraits are, sometimes, indefinite and just sketched.
A long-unused object that smells of dust
Then I moved to London. A cosmopolite city, fast and innovative.
My research changed, it became more realistic and I started to use colors.
My life has always been marked by a certain human and artistic nomadism that is still naturally reflected in my research.
The main focus of my photographs has always been the connection between my own self and the place as a psychological and mental space. They are reciprocally necessary and complementary to one another. The locations of my shootings have always been, both internal and abandoned places.
In London, I loved taking self-portraits in abandoned telephone boxes.
These places are objects that still exist but nobody uses them anymore.
This concept emerges after reading a sentence in “The Ravishing of Lol V. Stein” by Marguerite Duras: the main character is considered “a long-unused object […] that smells of dust”.
The fear of being only a detail that escapes to the eyes of the world is my obsession.
The outside world seems to be blind.
There is a life within the cocoon and this life keeps on existing even if the world doesn’t care about it.
Likewise, I feel this way, alive in my cocoon under the gaze of everybody without being perceived. Invisible! Like the ” long-unused object that smells of dust.”!
In 2016 I returned to Italy, to my land, the Marche.
I needed to find more serene and calm photography. The cocoon is now plunged into nature, in an ancestral connection with it.
The place, even when represented by an abandoned farmhouse, is still an elsewhere that cradles and protects the cocoon. The cocoon is a veil that still separates the inner self from the outside world, but each shot reveals the proximity of the encounter.
An identity always in fieri and suspended in a place that is once again a mental space.
The cocoon has not hatched yet; it is still waiting for. The nomadic cocoon is still seeking the right time and place to do it …