Visual Artist & Photographer
+32 471 23 06 61
*1992, Brasschaat (Be)
Based in Antwerp (BE)
Valentina Stellino documents the lifestyle of specific branches from her family and from acquaintances. The artist’s approach exceeds mere documentary photography, as her work is augmented with psychological tension and a perplexing ambiance.
The majority of these images feature one or more family members or relatives, paradoxically photographed from a detached perspective. The models’ movements are arrested and they all assume stilted positions, resulting in frozen scenes that resemble tableaux vivants or, more relevantly, certain portraits that were produced during the Golden Age period in The Netherlands. Indeed, Stellino asked her sitters to re-enact their own domestic rituals and mundane activities in a familiar and unmediated environment. The results are more often than not poses that are neither self-assured nor completely unnatural – unease, on the other hand, is prevalent.
Clearly, the series is built upon a narrative, though one that is opaque and barely comprehensible at first sight. As is the case with 17th-century Dutch art, the viewer impulsively starts to look for clues in the depicted scenes and interiors, in the subjects’ small gestures, interactions and facial expressions. Other echoes from this period are Stellino’s elaborate use of the light available in a given situation, invariably creating a rather distraught atmosphere, as well as a keen eye for subdued, witching tonalities of colour.
Thus, Stellino’s work is situated between fiction and non-fiction; it inhabits a zone between real-life events and a reconstruction thereof.
TOM NYS 2015