Text by Michela Coslovich
All images © Eleonora Agostini
Eleonora Agostini (born 1991) is an Italian artist living in London.
After studying Photography at the European Institute of Design in Milan, she attained a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Art Photography in London. Her works have been exhibited internationally and she is one of the selected artists for Bloomberg New Contemporaries in 2019.
Eleonora’s work explores everyday life and human experience through photography, sculpture and performance creating an interdependence between practices that leads the photographic technique to be the final result of an event, becoming a “trace of an action that continues to exist beyond a certain time and space.”
A Blurry Aftertaste (2018-present), one of her most appreciated works, analyzes the complexity of the domestic space generating in-depth questions about roles within the family, everyday objects and their uses.
The project came out during a particular moment of immobility and isolation: returned to her parents’ house and forced to live there for a certain period of time, her thoughts focused on the relationship with her family and her home.
She selected some intimate and personal objects found inside the house, moved them into the garden and let the family members creating a structures and installations, while she photographed and filmed their labour.
Some of the objects represent activities or spaces, while others evoke suggestions and emotions.
Using her words: “with the photograph Relaxation Island I refer to sleeping and remarrying, using all those intimate objects that come in contact with the body. With Angolo Cottura I relate to the kitchen, with What Once Was, which shows a pile of various and unrelated objects, I tell the story of those objects that are kept, waiting to get ridden. Childhood shows us the clothes that belong to a past time, which have been folded and arranged on the grass like a yard salt. Other images, on the other hand, are a documentation of installations and objects that were not meant to be photographed. Mole Trap, for example, is a mole trap built by my father and left in the garden for weeks.”
The result of this process is a collaboration between people and disciplines that leads to a series of questions about everyday life. Her house is a stage in which memories and bonds are reconstructed and the concept of intimacy analyzed.
Theoretical ideas that accompanied Eleonora in this work were the most varied: starting from The poetics of space by Gaston Bachelard, a text that explains the way in which the various spaces are able to evoke certain sensations and emotions; then move on to Dogtooth a film by Yorgos Lanthimos, the works of Gordon Matta Clark, Katerina Seda and Rachel Whiteread.
The family has always been a central element in Eleonora’s work: in her most recent project entitled A Study on Waitressing (2020), her interest focuses on the figure of the mother, on her movements in relation to her job as a waitress.
By analyzing her gestures, her thoughts and her relationships with other people, she tries to understand how the job we decide to perform in our life affects not only our individual identity, but also our collective way of acting. A story about essence and existence, in which one becomes the other and vice versa.
Eleonora herself defines her projects as autobiographical, starting from intimate and subjective experiences that are often the result of memories and emotions lived and reworked through her artistic process.
Thanks to this we are able to understand a personal research path that is not afraid to open up, which presents itself to the viewer even in its most delicate and private aspects, certainly the most fascinating.
Eleonora’s photographic work develops a more extended level of meaning, not limiting itself to be a mere representation of reality but becoming the final result of a much more articulated process.
An embrace between performance and photography that leads to the definition of new visions of reality.