Marialba Russo


with an essay by Gianluca Ranzi

2016, Hardcover
Bilingual: Italian / English
21x31 cm, 84 pages
ISBN: 9788898391493

€ 35,00
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Between 1975 and 1980, in the context of the cross-dressing culture in Campania, Marialba Russo made this series of portraits where cultural anthropology dialogues with the artistic project.

«To these men, dressed and made up as women, cross-dressing is a bit like undressing: it is a way to rid oneself of the ordinary, of everyday things, to venture beyond the columns of Hercules of gender and category. Even if the protagonists are unaware of it and relate it to a present-day carnival celebration, the custom buries its roots in a jungle of ancient transcultural myths and rites which served to reconnect opposites; concidentia oppositorum here means to make the possibilities of a true dialogue between the polarities of male and female re-emerge on the surface of the body, in a magic rituality aimed at favouring fertility and exorcising death.» — Gianluca Ranzi

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Marialba Russo
Born in Naples, in 1987 she moved to Rome where she has been living since. She first approached photography in the late 1960s focusing on religious representations and folkloric celebrations in central-southern Italy. In the years 1976-1977 she published Al ristorante il 29 settembre 1974 and Giornale Spray in i Quaderni dello sguardo, a series she created herself. In 1979, Marialba Russo was represented Italy in the Contemporary European Photography section of Venezia 79 la fotografia, with the photographic sequence Il parto. In 1989 the Gallery of Modern Art Giorgio Morandi in Bologna hosted a retrospective devoted to the photographer and published the monograph Marialba Russo - Fotografie 1980-1987, featuring a letter by Alberto Moravia. In 1993, Mudima (Milan) published Roma, Fasti Moderni - il disordine del tempo. Epifanie is a collection of travel photographs published in 1997, followed by the intimate visual narrative Famosa and Il ritratto di me. Over the last decade, the Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki and the Jin Tai Art Museum in Beijing have hosted the premières of l’Incanto, volume published by Skira (Milan) in 2004. In 2010 the Camera Obscura (Thessaloniki) published the plaquette Worlds of Glamour and Banality edited by Aris Georgiou. Confine, 2015, is the second volume of the trilogy begun with l’Incanto and explores the research that each subject – be it human, animal, real or symbolic – carries out within and beyond itself. The third and last volume of the series is forthcoming. With Travestimento, published by Postcart in 2016, and Cult Fiction, published in 2018 by Quinlan, il Giorno il Gioco il Sogno, published by Postcart, the series i Quaderni dello sguardo is published again. In 2021 she exhibits at the Centro Pecci in Prato and publishes the book Public Sex, Nero editions.