By Bianca Maria Zonta
Paris-based photographer Michael Luppi’s art is a shadowy world of ethereal forms
and otherworldly visions.
His sensual photography evokes suggestions and images of subtle yet strong desire relating to the power of the unconscious. Luppi’s visual language is iconic, consisting in a varied repertoire of individuals or things regarded as representative symbols of ‘something’ – the sensual and provoking yet vulnerable young nudes (Eros in Situ), mostly female models or male tattooed bodies (Icône, Anti-Eros, Discovery…), an obscure and gloomy nature made of flowers and wild animals (bulls, horses, raptors, felines), isolated dolmen-like structures, geometric forms or ordinary objects (bridges, boats) emerging from the landscape (Visages Volcaniques).
This emblematic language seems to portray both its enigmatic author and a crude realism resulting in a modernly poetic symbolism, masked through the dim light or darkness of the image. The nocturnal setting, made of minimal landscapes and moonlit skies captured at twilight or dusk, seemingly mirrors a state of obscurity and ambiguity, of gradual decline and melancholy sadness (Icône) of Man as a divine creature. Religious symbols are always difficult to fix and interpret in an artist’s mind. Yet they recur beside nudes, captured in black-and-white shots enhancing the prevailing atmosphere of gloom and mystery of Luppi’s character and photography (Visages Volcaniques).
Fashion photography being thus imbued, almost paradoxically, with a deep yet controversial Christian piety. But freedom of artistic interpretation is strongly recalled and claimed by the wild creatures of Luppi’s art, where the central role of eros as the basic life instinct and the apparent obsession with the body visually ‘embody’ the corresponding significance of the inner soul of Man in search of identity. Hence nakedness seemingly symbolises the unprotected and defenceless state of human existence, captured in all its potential magnificence yet disarming vulnerability.