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HomeFashionA place without identity: Tomaso Clavarino sets sights on northern Italy

A place without identity: Tomaso Clavarino sets sights on northern Italy

“Landscapes are always landscapes of the mind,” Gianluca Didino writes in an essay accompanying Tomaso Clavarino’s latest book *Padanistan -a title that To Italians it might sound familiar, like a provocative pun, but to others it might be a dot on the map, a forgotten place, or a country with its own traditions and identity. However, the term describes an ill-identified and fragmented territory.

Padanistan is actually a play on the place name ‘Padania’, often used to refer to Pianura Padana, an area that includes northern Italy from Po valley from the Alps to the Adriatic. Padania came into use in the second half of the s, through the use of the Italian political party Lega Nord, and contained strong political and identity connotations in the collective imagination. They used it to describe an imaginary territory, via a statue of independence from the Italian Republic. Even today it is recognized as the most economically productive place in Italy.

While fascinated by the distrust of the region, Italian photographer Tomaso Clavarino along the connection Turin and the national roads of Venice take a self-conscious ramble to show that Padania’s identity is actually a non-identity that can disorient the observer, even more so the people who live there. Given his straightforward record, there is a lack of beauty in balancing the slope-valley landscape with prosaic and anonymous brushstrokes. Clavarino’s gaze falls on the details of everyday life, on the faces that meet by chance, on the fragments and remnants of the normal – on a dysfunctional place that seems to live in constant apnea. Through this six-year project, he documents a place that can be anywhere. Without judgment, his wanderings are an observation, a witness to a stagnation not only physical but also ontological, in which the only sign of transformation is the lens of Clavarino Often stays on a teenager’s face, inadvertently or unintentionally.

His squint at young local passers-by is not surprising. There was a genuineness in their eyes, perhaps the kind that Clavarino was desperately looking for, the genuineness of people who enjoyed what they did without too much ambition or ambition.

We interviewed the author to learn more about his project.



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