Photography As Instrument

photography Ranzo Saviolo
written by Giorgio Segato

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Renzo Saviolo is a multifaceted artist who has always utilized techniques as peculiar instruments of research, expression, communication and participation. Oil and watercolour painting, graphics, sculpture, photography, interior and garden design and advertisements have been for him means of enquiry into reality and shape as a personal new elaboration of reality, cultural tension in relation to events, things, environmental and human situations: techniques to be used in the most knowledgeable and correct way, with the utmost attention to the possible variables. He did not just attend the “schools of art” (artistic high school, fine arts academy, life drawing school), but he has also educated his sight and hand by attending the studios of the most open-minded and informed artists, in Padua for example, that of Carlo Travaglia with whom he soon established a privileged relationship of cooperation. He was just twenty years old when he chose photography as the cognitive medium to record and document reality, well aware of living in a time of passage and that what he was seeing then, soon, very soon, would not be visible because of the change in times, people, economy, social and environmental relationships. His passion for photography emerges and matures as quickly as his need to record and journalistically report what happens all around him, or to give voice to the condition and gesture of daily life, without moralistic or historic passion, but with great research of skill and truth, to seize the light and space of the human event, to cover – as much as possible – its depth on the two-dimensional surface of the snapshot, to find a course, a rhythm and a themed fil rouge as expression of life’s continuity, of perception, of participating thought without in any way “violating” (forcing, alienating, emphasizing or depreciating in contingent interpretations) real data. The structural characters of places, simple gestures of people, daylight and magic artificial lights which seemed (then) to solidify the emptiness and silences of the streets, arcades, widenings, inviting to the abandonment of the scene, the reflective absorption, the domestic refuge, the perspective cuts with wide and long lateral vistas, the natural and unanimous expressiveness of the faces and gestures not yet “masques” of television’s globalization, the quiet, harmonic, environmental, natural manner with strong elements of individual communication at first, and then the bursting vertigo of new architectures (United States), of the skylines designed and built to swallow the collective individual, in the utopian belief in an ever more complex and changing reality of mass cooperation. These are the “arguments” more than the themes of his ”photographic journey” lasting now about fifty years, with quiet breaks, temporary abandonments to other techniques, too, in order to cultivate other senses, other sensibilities (drawing, painting, watercolour, writing).


For this reason, his visual enquiries into his beloved town, Padua, truly set an example from the fifties, of the almost pioneering cultural attitude characterized – apparently – by the “indifferent” eye that finds and records the image or the magic and “multimeaninged” sequence, to today, to sight become “intelligent”, which “sees” and favours the light’s writing and selects, cuts, highlights, lowers to correspond – one more time – not so much to a need of atmospheres, to a modulation of sensations or emotions, but to volumetric rhythms, with cognitive scanning eminently structural, of tectonic and architectonic enquiry open to new technologies, and to the implicit building of future.