Artists, especially photographers are an insightful bunch. They spend the best part of their time carefully moulding visual interventions and peddling our most colourful fantasies and banal realities back to us with edifying flair. If photography has taught us anything over the years it’s that aesthetic disciplines often present the most striking means of communicating socio-political commentary.
Lorenzo Vitturi’s visual project Dalston Anatomy, a series of sculptures, installations and photographs featuring and inspired by Dalston Market and the buzzing culture of Ridley Road are a gorgeous testament to photography’s vocal and synaesthetic power. These pieces, currently filling The Photographers’ Gallery, are alive with contrasting colours that sizzle and raw materials straight from the stalls of the market, presenting an honest and vital portrait of Dalston’s unique character whilst interrogating the political atmosphere, cultural evolution and inevitable gentrification of the area.
Vitturi, a sincere and intensely likeable artist with a distinctive Venetian accent, describes the personal importance he attributes to Dalston market and the people that make it so vibrant and unique, calling it, ‘it’s own micro-universe.’ Though he crystallises the essence of stalls, tradespeople and customers by creating bright sculptures and photographs, Vitturi believes strongly in connecting with the subjects of his work. Before being exhibited at the Photographers’ Gallery and filling a beautiful book, his photographs were situated around the market. He describes the joy of seeing people interacting with them, saying, ‘one day we hung two photographs next to a hairdressers. The next day they were gone and I saw one of them hanging in the window of the hairdressers. I went in to ask why it had been taken and the woman told me she couldn’t help herself, she loved it so much. It remained an advert for her shop after that.’
During a compelling Q&A Viturri was quizzed on whether Dalston Anatomy, rather than capturing the spirit of the market and providing a beautiful still life sequence that explored the here and now, might actually be contributing to the gentrification of the area. Contrary to this idea, we think this photographer has provided a stunning snapshot of real life and should be applauded for showcasing it within a remarkable cultural context. If you do one thing this summer, visit two places: Dalston Market and this exhibition. Both are free and both will imbue you with a sense of appreciation for London’s diversity, the cogency of photography and the universal language of sense experience.
Words: Emily Beeson | @younggoldteeth