Patrick Morarescu (AKA Johnny Amore) submitted a delightful 72 page, 8.5×8.5,” soft cover book called The Performers. The book, published by the Pori Art Museum in Finland, is a collection of 58 photographs made between 2009-present of performance artists Morarescu/Amore photographed immediately after their performances. The results are revealing, surprising, bewildering, amusing and much more! It’s a superb collection of fascinating people in sometimes captivating locations.
The book is available through the Pori Art Museum. I was fortunate to chat with Morarescu/Amore about the work.
TP: Can you tell us about your background and the origins of your interest in photography?
PM: While in high school I had the opportunity to take a photography course taught by the chemistry teacher. I was thrilled. I knew immediately that I wanted to become a photographer. When I finished school I began working as an intern in a photo studio. Since then photography has never left me.
TP: What path did you take to creating the body of work for Performers?
PM: The project began when I was taking part in the Diverse Universe Performance Festival in Pärnu, Estonia. It was cold and we were having a barbecue in the garden when I noticed I was surrounded by colorful artists, each delicately illuminated by the light of April’s setting sun. I wondered why I had never photographed these characters. Hastily, I grabbed my camera and began the series.
TP: Can you tell us about the experience of making the work?
PM: Performance art usually happens in front of small audiences and alternative venues far from the mainstream. It’s exists as a minority, in the margins. Furthermore, it is a very special art form because of its temporal condition, it is ceases to exist just after it comes into being. The results are ephemeral. Any effort to document becomes a new product that loses its authenticity. On the contrary, photography is the art of making the present immortal, to freeze ephemeral moments and convert them into unchangeable memories.
In my series I try to recognize this contradiction. I am not pretending to create a systematic archive, but to create a puzzle of special persons that in this historical moment are using performance art as their main artistic language. In my work I try to keep the magic of the irreproducibility of performance art, but contribute to its legacy.
I try to visit as many performance festivals and venues as possible to meet as many artists as I can. After seeing their works I ask them for 5 minutes of time and place them in a chosen background. After placing them in the frame andwithout giving much instruction we spend some time together —mirroring each other as if we were searching and finding a “tuning” between us. One of us is the transmitter and the other the receiver, until we find the right connection. To choose the right background is essential. The space around the person should define the figure itself, this is my personal presence in the resultant image.
TP: What story are you trying to tell with this work?
PM: I am aiming to show the authenticity of these people. To show them as they are, without being posed and beyond the cliche that hang the myth of the artist. The best photos come when I find the perfect balance between the personality of the model and my personality as a photographer, intervening or manipulating the reality.
TP: Why did you decide to make The Performers into a book?
PM: This publication appeared in the frame of an exhibition at the Pori Art Museum in Finland. When I started to work on the project I realized that a book is perhaps the best form to present this series of photographs. It feels nice in the hand as an object and you can physically manipulate it, turn the pages again and again and discover new details and coincidences. I would like to create a bigger publication with all of the 180 completed portraits and the new ones I’m currently making.
TP: What project(s) are on your horizon?
PM: Currently, and influenced by the The Performers project, I am working on a new series called „Performing Grounds“. In this series I photograph private and public spaces, that have been object of a human intervention. This human action is still present but as a ghost or a trace, in its process of fading.
In the future I will continue by combining both series The Performers and “The Performing Grounds”. I have already started experimenting on the exhibition display that allows presenting both series simultaneously and creating random or accidental associations between couples of photos.
TP: What drives you to create photographs?
PM: What inspires me as a photographer is what inspires me in life. The camera becomes a prolongation of my sight and my mind. I just need to be awake and keep my eyes open, as in every moment something special can be happening. Openness is what brings me to surprise and inspiration.
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