CAMERA FUTURES | Interview with Giovanna Petrocchi

Emerging talents of contemporary photography

Giovanna Petrocchi is an Italian photographer based in London. By combining personal photographs with found imagery and hand-made collages with 3D printing processes, Giovanna creates imaginary landscapes inspired by surrealist paintings, virtual realities and ancient cultures.

In this interview, she talks about her inspirations and career:


Can you tell us a little bit about your inspirations? Which themes do you often work with?
I am inspired by books about animals, and animality in general, stories and mythologies. I am also influenced by artists whose works blur the boundaries between sculpture and photography.
Most of my research revolves around archaeology, fictional narratives and primordial nature. At the moment I am exploring alternative ways of accessing objects from the past, in the specific I investigate methods of documentation of ancient art in museums collections.


© Giovanna Petrocchi, “Modular Artefacts, Mammoth Remains”, Monster, 2019


How do you see your relationship with the medium? How do you use photography to express your art?
My practice focuses on the combination of archival imagery, personal photographs, collages and 3D printing. So, I suppose my use of the medium it is not strictly traditional. I do not think of photography as a record of true facts but rather as magical tool that allows me to translate my curiosities and inquiries into a physical surface. I have quite a playful approach towards the medium. I enjoy mixing together different processes and looking for different ways to share my perspectives.
Recently I realized that I have not been using the camera at all. To me scanning, 3D printings, collaging existing archives are all ways of ‘making’ a photograph and are as relevant as the more traditional ones. Perhaps even more as they reflect the reality of our time. I like to think of my work as something in between the nostalgic and the futuristic: when it comes to choose my subjects, I delve into the past but the way I use photography is projected towards the future.
Lately I have been looking into the relationship between photography and sculpture and the possibilities to disguise one with the other and vice versa.


Do you have any ongoing (or more recent) project that you would like to share with us?
Recently I have been working on a new series, called Sculptural Entities, where found imagery of mammoths’ teeth are paired to single pieces of stylized dinosaurs’ 3D puzzles. It’s an investigation on the relationship between organic and artificial forms but at the same time between the ancient and the contemporary realms.
I collect digital imagery of mammoths findings and mix it with scanned cut-outs from cardboard sheets of dinosaurs 3D puzzles. Both the elements are digitally cropped, hence removed from their original context, and reorganized by myself into a fictional museum-like catalogue. The organic element is therefore communicating with a manmade representation of a natural entity. By comparing the two sculptural objects, I am emphasizing both their differences and their surprisingly common features.


© Giovanna Petrocchi, Untitled, Sculptural entities, 2020


We have been facing a lot of challenges this year. How do you see this moment for art? Is it changing your practice?
It has been difficult having to adapt to this new, slower pace of life. I must admit that seeing many museums, platforms and galleries moving online was disheartening at first. Now I think it is crucial for all of us, both artists and the art industry, to try and find the right balance between the physical and online worlds.
I would say that my practice has slightly changed in terms of research. I used to get lots of inspiration by wandering around museums’ collections or by visiting gallery shows, now my main source of stimulation comes from the Internet or through books.


© Giovanna Petrocchi, Anatolian idol-iran weapon⁠, From “Modular Artefacts, Mammoth Remains”, 2019


What do you expect from this experience as a Futures talent?
I think it is a wonderful opportunity for having our work seen by professionals of the art world. Especially in this uncertain situation we find ourselves in, it is nice to know we have support. Being part of this platform has given me the motivation to continue working on projects I started before lockdown and the enthusiasm to share them with a broader public.
I hope to build new relationships and to meet new artists!