Work

Archeologie Familiari/Family Archaeologies

 

Family Archaeologies is a photographic exploration of the house I own in Madognana, a small village in the Appenines about an hour’s drive from Bologna, and its association with my family and my heritage. The house was inhabited and owned by generations of women: Tosca Lorenzini, my grandmother, Zelinda Evangelisti, my great grandmother, and Maria Vivarelli, “La Bersagliera”my great great grandmother, in a succession of bequests and going back since two centuries ago. Much of my work is connected with commemoration and history, particularly how the connection between both familial and social relationships shapes the very fabric of our existence.The project investigates this unexceptional dwelling and its female inhabitants, past and present. Of course, most of them are now gone, but when I am there I feel their presence, even the ghost of myself when I was a child, embodied in the spaces of the building, in the furniture, and in the memory of the present incumbents, myself and my two daughters.

Family Archaeologies consists of three strands, my own photographs, family snapshots from the past, and a set of postcards and a pocket diary. In the artist’s book these textual materials are greatly expanded, including texts that chart the course of love affairs between two sets of my ancestors at the beginning of the 20th century.

This is a story about all families, and not just in Italy. The process of courtship, marriage, and raising children is universal, as well as the relationship between mother and daughter, grandmother and granddaughter. And for those of us lucky enough to have a family home passed down through the generations, it provides a symbol of stability, and also a warning against the rootlessness that afflicts so much of modern life, for so many reasons.

  

"Family Archaeologies", artist's book, 5 copies (2015). 30 x 22 cm, 19 archival pigment prints 10 x 15. For information write to info@sonialenzi.com