In the creation of a surreal dimension, Valentina Loffredo embraces the interpretative audacity of an innovative language, which is itself a pure reflection of her thoughts and unique vision. The coordinates of real life and the usual methods to interpret images cannot unlock their secret. Only dreams and imagination can try to explain it from within. And, indeed, while creating a new perception, it is the author herself who dictates the rules of that amazing grammar of fantasy that sets the pace of a conscious stylistic choice.
On second thoughts, if we looked at these photographs with the eyes of the composition purists, we would have no chance to understand their message in depth. But if, instead, we decided to let our gaze roam over that particular kind of pleasure we feel in front of the sea under the August sun, then we would appreciate their profound sense of freedom and lightness.
What is needed is a radical change of perspective. Only a new angle of vision, free from formalism, can give access to the playful and spontaneous creativity that is implied in each image of "As For Me, I'm Very Little". In this regard, it is the author herself to give us the first important clue to her personal approach to photography. And she does so by revealing that the title of her series is not simply a concise indication of its content, but the acronym of her name: Very Little stands (also) for Valentina Loffredo. Little and tiny is, indeed, the figure of the author who, with wide eyes open, looks at the world with enchantment and delicate sensibility.
However, we cannot consider the autobiographical element as a simple point of view. It is rather a method for the visual perception, which produces a reversal of reality so bold to astonish during every moment of the artistic creation. Here then, the most important reference for the author’s inspiration can be found in the purity of childhood, which, in turn, is translated into a reality dreamt with open eyes. This allows the discovery of the attractive and mysterious side of each thing and it
creates the space where to fly with the wings of creativity.
There is no plausible logical explanation, as we attempt to read these images. What is great suddenly appears tiny; what is empty is filled with unexpected presences, and the colours are there to fill every surface. It is as if a visual short-circuit burst into the perfectly staged sets and, in one fell swoop, broke the geometry they are based upon.
Valentina Loffredo defines this creative process as a "celebration of possibilities." And possibilities, in fact, they are. Possibilities that break the monotony and the superficiality of the cliché in favour of a maverick dialectic that is not only appealing, but that suggests new horizons for the thought. Looking with attention at her work, there is always a detail out of place, a small coincidence of forms or visual allusions that offer an opportunity to go beyond the apparent rigidity.
"I choose a place that I find interesting and somehow familiar (pools, patterned walls, factory buildings) and I change it slightly, to build another one that is just the same, but for an element of surprise. [...] What I would like to convey is the grace we indulge in when we look beyond, when we expose ourselves to something that we had not considered, with curiosity and vulnerability."
The search for a meaning that lies beyond the surface is an endemic need that drives the aesthetic and stylistic values of Valentina Loffredo’s out of stage photography. And her words seem pronounced specifically for this photographic series, which tell the story of reality by transforming it, and make us doubt that what we are looking for, in reality, it is not as it appears.
In this sense, the surrealist inspiration is expressed with consistency both in the aesthetics and in the content. And, in particular, it recalls that eccentric personality which – within the avant-garde movements of the twentieth century – earned the nickname of le saboteur tranquille, just for his ability to insinuate doubts about reality through the representation of reality itself. René Magritte was not interested in reality to interpret it, nor to portray it, but to show its indefinable mystery. In this regard, in the prime of his painting production, he
wrote: "Reality is never how we see it: the truth is, above all, imagination."
On the flowing rhythm of these words, "As For Me, I'm Very Little" reveals new discoveries and new ways of understanding life and the world. Therefore, the innocence of a gaze is not a perspective that only belongs to children. Now we can also share it, thanks to these images that become wonderful and delicate dissonances. An emotional renewed tradition of seeing, at last.
Denis Curti – Photography Critic