Mario Cresci was born in Chiavari in 1942. Through his photographic practice, he investigates reality rather than producing images for their own sake. Over time he has contaminated his production, including other disciplines such as graphics, drawing, video, painting and performance.
His work carried out in Basilicata from 1967 until the end of the Seventies can be considered one of the first examples in Italy of art dealing with the material culture of Southern Italy.
The English title would be ‘Measurements: photography and territory. Objects, signs and photographic analogies in Basilicata’. The artist’s investigation relates both to the photographic medium and to the social reality. Objects are initially photographed in their own environment and then in studio: it is Cresci’s way to address the traditions of Southern Italy and the creativity of older people who had invented and built these objects for no commercial use. By juxtaposing the images, Cresci creates analogies between signs, forms and meanings. The result is a portrait of a cultural identity that is clearly characterised by a strong link between man and environment – and this, in its turn, results in shared values and beliefs.
The second part of the book originates form a design workshop organised by the Matera cooperative “Laboratorio Uno”. The aim of this particular initiative was to encourage local craftsmanship, in order to create new occupational and professional areas. Cresci takes the cue from this workshop to highlight the historical-cultural identity of the Basilicata region. As local craftsmanship and creativity are highly requested all over the world, it is a tradition that clearly does not belong only to the past.
This landscape, called Lucania, with its ‘human geography’, can no longer be seen as a place of pure contemplation, where life stands still, but as a place of continuous change, with significant economic relationships; a region that too often has been wrongly identified with the condition of underdevelopment that characterised it in the 50s”.