Demure, reserved and silent but with a clear and discreet look Maurizio Frullani investigates with empathy, quite peculiar, the people he photographs.
His narration subtly enters into the mystery of our and others’ vision, without explaining too much, without completely resolving. The suspension is his base note.
Passionate about music, from this he learned the infinite variations with which to write and rewrite his stories and those of the men he met on his long journeys. Images are born as if they were opera prologues, pastoral symphonies, tragic arias or interludes.
Belonging to that ‘beat’ generation that experienced the extraordinary cultural openness of the Sixties, it explores the East along the Silk Road with a Volkswagen van. His travel reports tell of countries still uncontaminated like Afghanistan, Yemen, India, where the author gathers glances and stories of the men met and with whom he always sought a contact.
In India he approaches classical Indian music, he is introduced to the study of the sitar and, from this experience, the portraits of Indian masters, musicians and luthiers are born. They are acclimatized poses, which Maurizio forges in a dark room, carrying mysterious notes of incense-smelling environments.
In Venice the study of this particular instrument will resume and, at the same time, it will continue with the photographic project begun in India, portraying the musicians of the territory together with the contemporary artists of Friuli-Venezia Giulia. His archive has more than three hundred portraits of painters, sculptors, photographers, writers and directors, made in almost forty years of continuous and constant work.
Today, the portraits of Maurizio Frullani are considered one of the most important historical documentations of the cultural life of our territory, a photographic geography that documents not only faces and environments but that stops in the image the soul and the thought that each of these personalities embodies itself. Frullani discreetly captures this universe in and out of man, taking them back into the homes they live in, in the studio where they work, or surrounding them by nature, by family members or friends.
Important will be the years spent in Massawa, from 1993 to 2000. Eritrea reaches independence in 1993, but peace has a short duration and turns into war in 1997. In this context it manages to approach men, with respect and human friendship, women, children and girls entering their homes, courtyards, laboratories imbued with a rarefied, never degrading poverty. He composes paintings in which every detail is the chapter of a multi-key story, with the subjects looking directly into the room, staring at us through that dense and silent space that exists between us looking at them, that moment of suspension that encloses the magic of the photographic medium, and which is fundamental to Frullani’s work. As in the two little girls dressed in rags, above the African desert expanse, which carry within themselves the royal nobility of two princesses, an image that is a distant dream, a possible thought only within that frame.
Returning to his Ronchi dei Legionari, Frullani creates the great photographic project Santi, Miti e Leggende, a work of extraordinary evocative strength in which he reinterprets the myths and legends of different peoples, with subtle and intelligent irony. As a great author and director, Frullani stages and prepares large-scale paintings, creating fantastic postmodern visions, ambiguous and subtly persuasive, circus but at the same time perfectly aestheticizing. In this way he represents a pierced and lying Saint Sebastian on a disused dental chair, the Valkyries riding bicycles, perhaps ancient, perhaps futuristic, Kronos the god of time while reading Il Sole24ore. Santi, Miti e Leggende is an impressive work where the artistic vision goes beyond photography.
The retrospective dedicated to Maurizio Frullani brings photographic themes to the general public a he as dear as Sherazade, Sulla Strada del Raga, Massawa, Santi, Miti e Leggende, and the Ritratti degli artisti del Friuli-Venezia Giulia.
A dutiful homage to the Isontino photographer, to his soul as a great traveler who has made photography “a tool to search for knowledge”