Through her photographic lens, Cristina Coral reveals the possibility of creating, developing and documenting with one single, complete, and fascinating medium. Hers is a world in which colours, shapes and images blend with each other. While shooting, this young Italian artist, puts herself in the time frame that photography encompasses while exploring external reality and investigating important inner aspects. Her starting point is to let herself be impressed by what arouses her curiosity.
Cristina grew up in an artistically stimulating environment, and traces her photographic experience back to her childhood, when she used her mother’s Comet II Film Bencini to take family portraits. The choice of the camera as her preferred form of expression dates back to 2012. The sources of her inspiration come from everything and anything that might arouse her interest.
In the Preservation collection the subjects portrayed are sculptures played off against their surroundings – nature, girls in the guise of models, objects, items of clothing -. Classical busts and details of ancient statues are invested with a contemporary spirit and made to occupy the space in a new way. Who leads this dance? Animated forms or carved stone? “Art”, says Cristina, “must continue to live and the very nature of our task is to keep it alive”. Preserving art means “protecting identity and human creativity” – two elements that underpin the integrity of a work, an essential combination that ensures we can “continue to enjoy the beauty of art itself throughout time”.
The feminine universe and fashion are the focus of Cristina Coral’s artistic research. “Fashion in visual culture is certainly an important element”, she explains. However, she does not allow trends to take precedence over her personal experimentation and growth as an artist. “The image and communication are in full aesthetic revolution”, she says. The stylistic key of her artistic research is precisely this vision of beauty, which investigates “a gentle and mysterious field–the feminine milieu– bringing out different facets in which I sometimes find myself”, she adds. It is not, then, by chance that we find Cristina frequently portrays girls and young women – authentic interpreters of her feelings and vision.
The Secret Garden Stories collection has the romantic garden as its central theme attributing a central role to the delicate and sophisticated figure of girlhood. The models, portrayed, reclining on their backs, or with a somewhat absent sideways gaze, seem suspended in a timeless dimension. Always fascinated by the nature of decadent gardens, Cristina describes these spaces as “places of contemplation imbued with mystery, where the soul is reborn”. In my secret gardens, the artist says, “models feel protected and become aware of themselves and the wonder of the beauty of nature that surrounds them. In turn, they hide, get lost and refind themselves”.
A hidden beauty emerges from their silent dialogue, that only photography can conjure up in a single frame. Reflecting on the atmosphere created in her ideal garden, Cristina speaks of “a place of refuge, a place where the pressures of everyday life are forgotten”. Sorting through the photographs, this “poetic attitude” is evident in the green outdoors, a more explicit setting of this oniric dimension – as it can also be found in the wrinkled floral pattern of a sock, in the floral print of a pillowcase, an embroidery, or in the shadow of a tree. The vulnerability of nature, like that of the human being, comes unexpectedly to appear as a synonym for unbounded strength and unstoppable vigour.
Written by Costanza Francesconi
Images © Cristina Coral