SOUVENIR D'ITALIE

Raffaela Mariniello


Venice, the Ponte degli Scalzi: an endless stream of visitors crosses the bridge at all hours of the night as they make their way through an epic city. Naples, in front of Maschio Angioino: a large truck selling porchetta competes for space with a sightseeing tour bus amidst the chaos of a vibrant metropolis. Florence, Santa Maria Novella Square: a timeless statue of Neptune appears genuinely puzzled as he appears to observe a frenzied woman being projected onto an enormous film screen.

Raffaela Mariniello’s enchanting photographs capture the essence of Italian tourist destinations by revealing how their present and past histories effortlessly intermingle. These nocturnal cityscapes, taken using long exposures, transform urban spaces into images of extraordinary beauty and pathos. In each work, memorable architecture, steeped in history, becomes a backdrop to the bustling street life of the present day. The artist remarks that, “… to visit the original venues is like being photographed surrounded by their reproduction.”

Souvenir d’Italie is a site-specific installation of images along the fence of the Consulate General of Italy. Similar to many of the locations captured in Mariniello’s images, the consulate building is a heritage site - a Victorian mansion built in 1872 within an area that was once a hub of activity for the Italian community. As passer-bys encounter these photographs of promenade scenes that juxtapose the old with the new, they will find themselves occupying the same position of the photographer – standing in the foreground of a historic landmark that has been infused with new life.

Mariniello was born in Naples where she currently works and lives. The artist’s meticulously crafted photographs are in the vein of a social realist tradition. She depicts the everyday socio-economic realities of urban and industrial spaces, while imbuing each image with a sense of the sublime.

Presented in partnership with the Italian Cultural Institute - Consulate General of Italy, Toronto.

Curated by Bonnie Rubenstein