Foto ©Fabio Zonta _1

Antonio Canova (Possagno, 1757 – Venice, 1822), Venus and Mars, plaster, 1816, 210x122x60, Buckingham Palace – London (photo Fabio Zonta)

Foto ©Fabio Zonta _2

Antonio Canova, Italic Venus, 1804-12. Marble, height 1.72 m. Florence, Palazzo Pitti, Galleria Palatina (photo Fabio Zonta)

The sublime, that profound reverence inspired by natural phenomena, can also spring from works of art that go beyond the human.

The images of Canova’s works created by Fabio Zonta would appear to conform to Winckelmann’s dictum to imitate in order to create one’s own. In this instance, Zonta looks at the reasons that underpinned the works of Canova, and internalises them, in the effort to achieve the sublime, both subjective and universal.

Light is fundamental to the rigorously delicate creative operation that takes place as a result. Light can be used to construct and reinvent, via a detailed and critical preliminary process preceding each shot, the end result: a unique creative experience.

The photographic works that are the outcome of this process move into a new dimension. The subjects take shape thanks to the various tones of shadow and colour at the artist’s command. So the surfaces of the sculptures are redrawn, while the hard and soft textures of the materials, as well as the boundaries between the figure and space all around are defined, and even what we cannot see but can intuit can be evoked becomes real. In a word, a vision is created.

Fabio Zonta, Biography

The outcome is an emotionally compelling reading of the works of Canova, which seem to float free yet, but is, at one and the same time, are lyrical. In the images that Zonta analyzes and reconstructs, intimacy and suffering, the solemn expressions in the portraits, or the monumental stature of the heroes come to us completely transformed. They take on a new shape, becoming brand-new architectures of light and universal emotions. Born in Bassano del Grappa in 1958, Fabio Zonta moved to Milan in 1977 where he worked for Alfredo Pratelli’s Publifoto photographic agency, initially as an assistant to Alfa Castaldi, Christopher Broadbent and, later, Davide Mosconi with whom he worked for many years. During the same period, he contributed to Italian design and architecture magazines such as Abitare, Domus, Gran-Bazaar, Ottagono, Modo, and Interni. Fabio Zonta was also commissioned by leading architectural practices, including Cini Boeri, Matteo Thun, Sottsass-Associati, and Antonio Zanuso. His photographs have often formed part of art exhibitions, in Italy and elsewhere, and their complementary catalogues. Museums and galleries have also called on his photographic skills. The Fondazione Cini in Venice, the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, the Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are just some of these. Ninety of Zonta’s photographs are part of the permanent collection of the Fondazione Triennale di Milano. Since 2003, when he had his first solo show, he has dedicated his attention to Still Lifes. Fabio Zonta is represented by Camilla Grimaldi.