Dormi sonni tranquilli
Excerpt from the text by Elisa Mezzetti published in the exhibition catalogue Suburbia, 2004
Paola De Pietri has turned her attention to another aspect of the edges of the city: to the state of abandonment they experience at night. Her nocturnal photos show silent, solitary situations, often suspended in an indefinite space. Homes and yards follow one right after the other, with a clear outlining of the borders of a series of private properties. In these night-time scenes, even nature – constrained as it is into clearly urban spaces – takes on an air that disturbs us and throws us off balance. These images speak of other potential suburbs where people even more frequently shut themselves up in their houses, leaving room outside for only the night and its streetlights. These are situations that evoke conflicting feelings: we’re increasingly unsettled by their darkness, but they also arouse our curiosity, implying stories that we’d like to know but can only imagine. De Pietri is interested in the night-time dimension of things, in realities with interior aspects that can’t immediately be perceived. Her photos might be said to hold some sort of unsettled tranquillity. While viewing these images, onlookers come to be somehow involved in the situation represented, almost becoming actors in the scene taking place before them. The work establishes a direct relationship between observer and the subject represented, a strong sense of involvement, a dimension that demands a personal and individual and never a simply generic reading of the images. The particular feature of these photographs lies precisely in their highly evocative power, in their ability to almost physically transmit feelings to us of precariousness and emotional instability.