CESARE ACCETTA

Cesare Accetta, In Luce, 2015 (Toni Servillo). Courtesy l’artista

In Luce (“In Light”) is a project undertaken between 2015 and 2016 by Cesare Accetta (Naples, 1954), one of the most famous Italian photographers and lighting designers, whose work unites the world of theatre, cinema and the visual arts. Three videos are projected on the walls of the first room on the museum’s ground floor, effectively a small theatre at street level. Over fifty faces of authors, actors, directors, show business personalities, assistants and friends appear in the videos, creating a portrait of the professional and private life of the artist, including Mario Martone, Mimmo Paladino, Enzo Moscato, Toni Servillo, Laura Angiulli, Alessandra D’Elia, Pippo Delbono, Andrea Renzi, to mention only a few.
Considering the whole of Accetta’s career from the 1970s onwards, it is impossible to establish a precise starting point for the origins of this new work: once again, the relationship with light lies at its heart. However, several shifts in perspective can be identified which reveal a new path aimed at exploring human experience, in particular in the more intense and strongly felt representation-interpretation of the “body”: it is the face the place used for the artist’s interpretative approach. Light runs along the surface of the visage during the video, revealing traces of clear intimacy, unknown even to the subject of the work. Without an explicitly anthropological or psychoanalytical intention, it conveys an idea that stems from the gaze and lingers upon it through a process of exploration that relies on “revelation”: from the epiphany of the image to its deprivation of power through the black background in a charge of thrilling astonishment which surprises the viewer and inevitably leads back to the profoundest sense of life in its relationship with time. As a flexible instrument which is restless yet also patient and methodical, this light appears trough subtraction or accretion, and creates a series of varying effects on the “body” which is the unconscious subject of dynamic representation and unexpected exploration.

In Luce, dedicated to Oreste Zevola (1954-2014), is intended to be the first chapter of a catalogue geared towards the future and devoted to humanity in its infinite variety of features and interpretative stances. The following 55 ”faces” appear in In Luce: Valentina Acca, Laura Angiulli, Annapaola Brancia D’Apricena, Simona Barattolo, Mimmo Basso, Sonia Bergamasco, Alessandra Bertucci, Monica Biancardi, Maurizio Bizzi, Mimmo Borrelli, Silvia Calderoni, Salvatore Cantalupo, Carlo Cerciello, Antonello Cossia, Angelo Curti, Alessandra D’Elia, Lavinia D’Elia, Marita D’Elia, Antonietta De Lillo, Pippo Delbono, Cristina Donadio, Fabio Donato, Patrizio Esposito, Lino Fiorito, Maurizio Fiume, Marco Ghidelli, Fabrizio Gifuni, Simona lnfante, Valbona Malaj, Stefania Maraucci, Antonio Marfella, Mario Martone, Laura Micciarelli, Enzo Moscato, Mimmo Paladino, Lorenza Pensato, Paola Potena, Andrea Renzi, Giulia Renzi, Carlo Rizzelli, Giuseppe Russo, Lucio Sabatino, Federica Sandrini, Francesco Saponaro, Maria Savarese, Antonello Scotti, Pierpaolo Sepe, Lello Serao, Toni Servillo, Rosario Squillace, Tonino Taiuti, Sonia Totaro, Marianna Troise, Imma Villa and Chiara Vitiello.

The presentation of the work In Luce, which opens the programme of events for the new Project room of Madre, is part of the project entitled Per_forming a collection: for an art archive in Campania, devoted in 2016 to the gradual construction of the museum’s collection. In particular, the project focuses on archiving and the role of the museum as a centre for producing and promoting archive material, confirming the museum collection as a performative, shared, communal, dialogue-based and collective narrative operating in the sphere of relationships and changing over time.
Since the 1970s Accetta has combined his own photographic experimentation with avant-garde theatre. He has worked as a stage photographer with the Teatro lnstabile in Naples and, for twenty years, collaborated with various avant-garde theatre groups such as Falso Movimento led by Mario Martone, Teatro dei Mutamenti led by Antonio Neiwiller, Teatro Studio in Caserta led by Toni Servillo, Il Teatro led by Laura Angiulli and Club Teatro led by Remondi and Caporossi. From the second half of the 1980s he began working in cinema: in 1992 for the film Morte di un matematico napoletano (1992) by Martone, with whom he was to work again in 1995 on L’amore molesto.
He subsequently worked as lighting designer for plays (L’uomo, la bestia e la virtù, directed by Angiulli, 1995) and director of photography in television and cinema (I racconti di Vittoria, directed by Antonietta De Lillo, 1995). He also directed the photography for the televised performances of theatre works (as a lighting designer), such as Delirio amoroso (directed by Silvio Soldini) and Luparella (directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci).
The solo show at PAN – Palazzo delle Arti Napoli Dietro gli occhi (“Behind the Eyes”) — which takes its title from the performance of the same name that he devised together with Alessandra D’Elia and Andrea Renzi, with music by the group Bisca (Galleria Toledo, Naples, 1992) — tells the story of twenty years of avant-garde theatre in Naples, through photographs and videos taken from his archive from 1976 (Incontro Situazione 76, Teatro San Ferdinando) to 1996 (the exhibition was curated by Maria Savarese). In 2010 the Museum of Capodimonte presented his solo show 03-010 where the three works exhibited portray the same subject: the actress Alessandra D’Elia.
He also designed the lighting for temporary exhibitions (Diego Velazquez at the Museum of Capodimonte; Julian Schnabel at the Mostra d’Oltremare; Grande Opera Italiana at Castel Sant’Elmo; the remounting of the exhibition Terrae Motus at the Royal Palace of Caserta in 2004, as well as several exhibitions dedicated to Mimmo Paladino, with whom he also worked for the feature film Qujote in 2006, and the short film Labyrinthus in 2013). He also worked as lighting designer for concerts and operas (Royal Opera House in London, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Teatro Nacional de Sao Carlos in Lisbon, the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Teatro Comunale in Modena, Teatro Ponchielli in Cremona and the Puccini Festival). He won numerous awards as director of photography in the cinema such as the Grolla d’oro in 2001 for Chimera (directed by Pappi Corsicato), the Esposimetro d’Oro in 2002 for L’inverno (directed by Nina Di Majo), Ciak d’Oro and Globo d’Oro in 2005 for II resto di niente (directed by Antonietta De Lillo). In 2014 he won the ANCT award (Associazione Nazionale Critici Teatrali) as theatre lighting designer.