Abuse II, The Uncanny is a series of studies of the human form, in which Bolzoni explores concepts of abuse and discomfort. The subjects’ bodies are photographed sprawled across the floor in various states of contortion. The figures are made more disconcerting by their heads and faces being invisible. Without this ‘identifier’, the viewer is unable to place their age, gender, or the colour of their skin, creating a feeling of the uncanny that is extended through the sense of an unknown viewer.
Bolzoni’s compositional approach is objective, documentary and almost scientific; the elements in these images are simple and few, and focus is given to the movements of the performers – often awkward and reminiscent of bodies in pain. The camera freezes these actions and dilates their framing of time, revealing the unseen of a body dominated by the power of gravity.
Presented in the form of a fanzine inserted inside the publication is a further series of images, entitled Abuse II, Event, which is comprised of photographs of clothing. The motivation for these works arose from a Syrian refugee who Bolzoni met on a Milanese street in the summer of 2016. Arrayed on the pavement were the clothes the man and several of his friends had worn while making the hazardous journey across the Mediterranean to Southern Europe, which he was selling to raise money.
Following a discussion, Bolzoni bought the clothes. He then photographed them unwashed, replete with perspiration and other bodily traces. In spite of its marked absence, the clothing retains the resonance of human presence, with trousers and t-shirts turned inside out and arranged in shapes that echo the bodies that wore them.
The works featured in these two bodies of work continue the themes of the project’s first book, entitled Abuse, which consisted of a series of photographs of dying flowers viewed as an unflinching examination of the passage from life to death. As a whole, the three parts of the Abuse project reflect obliquely on the forces both physical and emotional that act upon our bodies: how these manifest in forms of abuse, the traces they leave behind, and the liminal space between life and death.
The book will be available to purchase through John Rule Book Distribution and Donlon Books, London.