Home Video Diary

by Attilio Solzi

200 pages, 404 photos and 1 spaghetti alle vongole recipe
a review by Larisa Oancea

Ultimately, life is a comedy played between the drama and the grotesque.
Depending on where you were born, one or the other prevails. Around me, 90% is grotesque.

The grotesque implies a certain degree of dissonance and requires duality. As in the Freudian uncanny – where something is strangely familiar, rather than simply mysterious – Attilio Solzi’s use of grotesque deals with that mimetic familiarity which is,  at the same time, beyond one’s ken. He skillfully inserts ironic structures into a dialectic of routine and explores their performative function.

‘Home Video Diary’ is a project that started about 10 years ago. It was a time-consuming job over the years that ended when Attilio’s camcorder broke. The videos have been shot in the small North Italian village where Attilio lives. The people portrayed are not actors or models but his acquaintances, friends and neighbours, people who allowed him to enter their intimate moments and who, in return, enter Attilio’s wacky universe.

Compromising the narrative of the domestic paradigm, Solzi blurs references, challenging the ambiguity between fiction and reality, as well as between spontaneous and staged, to the point where, as Bruce W. Ferguson once said, only fiction might produce something like truth. This surreal prevarication is defused by a visual device which alludes to John Baldessari’s adhesive dots from the mid-1980s onward: seasoned with the scarlet wire binding the book, little red spots randomly stain the whole, training our vision to a meta visual, albeit haptic, experience.

‘Home Video Diary’ articulates a hybrid and ambivalent model for understanding the grotesque. Attilio Solzi invented a scenario we can crave for; it might be the perfect antidote to DeLillo’s lethargic aphorism life is too contemporary.

Home Video Diary | Attilio Solzi
Published by Void
Designed by João Linneu
Text by Achille Filipponi
200 pages, 404 photos and 1 spaghetti alle vongole recipe
Offset/ 300 copies