paul laster - annalauradiluggo en

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Professor art &design college Savannah

The human eye is simultaneously unique, individual and emblematic. Long considered the mirror of the soul, eyes can tell us a lot about a person, which is why they have played such an important role in art. Leonardo da Vinci asked, “Do you not see that the eye embraces the beauty of the whole world?” He analyzed the elements of the eye in his anatomical drawings while portraying some of the most engaging eyes in all of art history. His Renaissance masterpiece La Gioconda, also known as the Mona Lisa, is as much appreciated for her haunting eyes as she is for her enigmatic smile. Surrealist artists saw the eye as a window to the unconscious mind. René Magritte’s 1928 painting of a jumbo eye, The False Mirror, replaces the iris with a cloud-swept blue sky to show the world reflected in the spirit. The following year, Spanish film director Luis Buñuel and artist Salvador Dalí collaborated on the silent film Un chien andalou, which is best known for a shocking scene, interpreting the director’s dream, of a man slicing a woman’s eyeball with a razor to symbolize the spilling of truth. And shortly thereafter, Man Ray created one of his most famous photographs, Tears, a staged image of a woman made to look like a starlet in distress, with glistening glass beads conveying the notion of false tears. Despite being quite real, Annalaura di Luggo’s work suggests a surreal sensibility. Employing macrophotography to make a portrait of a person’s eye, she captures what looks to be the whole universe in a circular realm. The iris takes on a multitude of atmospheric colors, with the pupil becoming a metaphoric black hole. Presented in a giant format, her pictures lay bare the distinctiveness of each of her subjects—with the veracity of a fingerprint—while revealing an essence of their inner selves. The symbolism of thecircular shape of the iris has universal meanings. The circle conveys totality, wholeness, the self, the infinite, eternity, the cyclic movement, timelessness and God. These are the truths that the art of di Luggo’s outstanding Occh-IO/Eye-I project also represents. From leading members of society, movie and television stars and talented students to marginalized citizens like the homeless, prisoners and—in her most recent series— the blind, her project shows us that even though each person is different we are also very much alike. Annalaura di Luggo is not alone in her creative attention to the eye as a contemporary subject for art. In 2007, the American artist Tony Tasset made a giant sculptural eyeball, modeled after one of his own blue eyes, that’s now on permanent display in a park in Dallas, where it’s become something of a tourist attraction. The French-born artist Louise Bourgeois also employed eyes and eyeballs as the subjects of her carved stone and bronze sculptures—almost as often as she used spiders—with several of them on view in urban parks, too. Happily, we now have the opportunity to experience di Luggo’s Blind Vision installation in Naples. Working with the Istituto Colosimo, the artist met with 20 blind people of various ages and experiences. Filmmaker Nanni Zedda videotaped di Luggo’s interviews with the subjects for new documentary, and the artist then photographed each person’s eyes as she had previously done for her project, but with astoundingly different results. The pictures show that there is great beauty inside all of us, even if we are flawed. Her striking images are as scientifically stimulating as they are aesthetically appealing. By rendering the invisible visible, Annalaura di Luggo helps us to better understand that who we are in life is what’s reflected in the eyes of others.

© Annydi 2020
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