Non avrei voluto essere d’altro che specchio
e di sponda restituire in superficie
tutto il fondo incolorire della luce
a chi su di me come da solo
rideva un proprio volto sconosciuto.
E invece ne trattengo dietro una macchia un colore
e a rispondere poi qualcosa di nuovo:
sono ancora incapace.

I wished I was made of nothing else than mirror glass
giving back off the cushion on the surface
all the deep encoloring of light
to the one smiling toward me as if alone
an unknown face of his own.
Instead I hold back a spot a colour
and to answer something new:
I am still unable.

Poem by Pietro’s friend Alfio Farbo


Pietro Motisi | manca anima
„The idea for this project came into my mind at a moment when I was seriously questioning the relationship between my work as a photographer and my representation of others’ pain.
I was also questioning the nature of those relationships I establish with my subjects on a personal level.
All of a sudden my life was interrupted by a violent episode. It was fate that this episode should take place one night when I was out taking photographs. While I was fortunate that this particular event did not leave me with any physical injury, I started to feel the need to ask questions about myself as a person.  I need to explore my role, not just as an eye observing what is around me, but also as a subject of what is happening.
After the night in question I still wanted to go out the following nights to complete my work. Instinctively, photography became a process of catharsis, a way to convert the bad event into something else. Still, something more was going on in my mind. My mind seemed stuck on that violent incident. Also, and perhaps even more so, my mind was concerned with the concept of the “after violence” and the link between our identity and the violent events encountered in life. This work is the result of that obsession, a circular path of reflections about the missing spaces of our mind. It explores the space where the constantly changing external world clashes with the internal, and that sensation of discord between the soul and the wider world.“

We also wouldn’t want to deprive you of what Pietro’s friend – the writer and anthropologist Matteo Meschiari – says about this project:

I wanted to say that the image empties itself, that it snags itself like meaning, always, everywhere, but it doesn’t. Or that it floats in non-existence, in a lack of presence, but if that is true, it is true only for me. The point is that the here-and-now that shapes photography is not possible to find here and now, and I can’t find even a melancholy sweating on the past. What I see is a missing mass, that works like a device for capturing inner voices and figures. But those voices and figures don’t concern the photographer or the instant or the fixed thing. The missing mass I see pulls on my diaphragm, like a zone of invaded intimacy that doesn’t wait for compensation. It is there that begins what I’m interested in, and, if we were a border species, what should interest everyone. I mean that way of overlooking without looking for the abyss, just looking at the empty blackboard. It is not a threshold, one of those that opens on a beyond, and not even a mirror for shaving the soul. It is the not-beyond where you stop, and only a tale could do the rest, and be the sling. What I see, on the contrary, doesn’t tell anything, or open anything, or see anything, because, if the soul is lacking, there is nothing to see, or to open, or to tell to someone close to or far from you. After this, now, you could come back to the kitchen, or kill yourself, or pray to an elsewhere. But finally none of those things makes sense, because only matter exists, and matter is so hollow that it seems like a soul. But there are trees, fabrics, fake animals and real ones, landscapes and interiors, a woman, a hat, Magritte, your mama, the flight of a bullfighter’s cloak, the lost vessels, the gulls, the walrus, and the great leviathans for sure.


About the artist:
Born in Palermo in 1982, Pietro Motisi studied Documentary Photography at UWN University of Newport (UK). Since 2002 he was initially interested in stage photography, he worked for some commissions for National Dance Academy in Rome and he photographed several famous acting companies (such as Theatre du Radeau, La Fura Dels Baus, Slava Polunin). In 2006 and 2008 he won “Occhi di Scena” an international prize for stage photography. Since the 2008 he collaborates with the Cultural Heritage Department of the University of Palermo for anthropological researches. He has since specialized in Documentary Photography for the realization of short and long term projects about social issues and the relations between humans and territory which is his main field of research today.

For more of Pietro Motisi’s work please visit
Pietro can also be found on Facebook.

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