Mimmo Jodice: seizing the day

From the initial experimentation to the pioneering commitment to elevating photography to the height of Art, Mimmo Jodice recalls the first steps of his career, passing through his experience with the body art exponent, Vito Acconci, and the protests in the 1960s.

As a prominent figure of the Italian photography and cultural debate, exhibiting all over the world, Mimmo Jodice has curated the recent photo campaign of the Riace Bronzes for Calabria Region. He was interviewed on the photographic set.

How has your story with photography begun?
I began experimenting when photography was not fully considered an art language yet. During  the 1960s, the most important avant-garde artists used to exhibit their works in Naples and I could not accept that photography was left apart. From technical to conceptual experimentation, my mission was to elevate photography to the heights of Art. A mission pursued by very few others.

Is there a particular episode of your debut as a photographer you recall with pleasure?
Among the artists I invited to my atelier to make them a portrait, there was also Vito Acconci, an exponent of the body art. Once he took his place in the photographic set I arranged for him, Acconci started getting undressed and painting his body with a marker. I took some pictures of him and created a series of images over a panel. The following day, Acconci wrote again on the pictures themselves. I still treasure both the photo series: to me, they represent an intimate and sincere moment of felt and shared artistic expression.

Can the visual language have an ethic/social mission?
As a photographer, I have usually explored social issues. At the end of the 1960s, at the peak of the protests, I took some pictures that, beyond their value of historical report, immortalized suffering in its purest form,  regardless of its “journalistic” value.

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