top of page


One night 16 – 17 Marzo – 21:30

PRIVATE – Matteo Procaccioli Della Valle RAFFAELLA DE CHIRICO ARTE CONTEMPORANEA ex Riva, via Savona 56, Milano



by Benedetta Donato

Journeying through ten years of visual research and genuine experiences, the following pages gather together the matrices, the sources from which experimentation stemmed and projects emerged.

This is not simply an exercise in archiving and cataloguing, it's so much more: an extraordinary journey, the precise purpose of which is to capture, for every single Polaroid image, the threads and inspirations from which Matteo Procaccioli Della Valle's most famous projects derived.

This two-year journey made it possible, both for the artist and the writer, to reconstruct the pieces that were created in parallel and simultaneously with the main work and, through an iterative decision making process, are now presented in this book.

“A large part of my work wouldn't exist without instant film”, explains the artist, who uses the Polaroid camera as a tool for exploring the various aspects of the real world, whereby it functions as an extension of his own eyes, becoming a way of recording what he sees and what catches his attention.

It is Matteo's deep conviction that there's a correspondence between what he “freely” sees and what the instant picture portrays. In a certain sense, for the artist, the Polaroid camera is a sort of definitive laissez-passer to enable him to be and feel free to understand, report and see anew what he experienced in a specific moment, and not just what he has seen and observed over time.

Completely at odds with the current modus operandi of the photographic world - using smartphones to immortalise any subject observed or moment experienced, to then immediately and publicly share it with the world on social media - Procaccioli Della Valle chooses instant film because it is in that fragment that he's able to bring reality into focus. But, despite the different choice of means, both the above-mentioned approaches generate a similar effect in bestowing upon the object the same sense of “immediateness”: in other words, the image can be viewed promptly. The real difference lies in the intended recipient of that image, in this case taken for just one set of eyes. The original purpose of that photograph, and therefore the use of that specific means for taking it, is the fact that it is to be utilised by just a single observer. There's no audience for that shot, thus transforming it into an expanded timeframe to be dedicated to study, to the metabolisation of the captured reality for the purpose of creating something else.

With this approach, over the years, the artist developed a number of experimentation pieces: taking hidden matrices and creating large prints, against which he launched a kind of incursion, just as he did with some Polaroid images.

The materiality of these Polaroid images is entirely coherent with the works that derive from them, and which stand out for the technique and accuracy with which they were produced.

The artist makes a further choice, to show, for the first time, his start point, opening the doors to one of his spaces and allowing us into one of the most private rooms in his studio.

To look at these various compilations of pictures now means interpreting them in a completely new way, but without altering their initial purpose; indeed, it's about understanding and experiencing them all over again, accessing their intimate aspects and more personal visions which have survived the passing of time and remained both vital and current.

This visual experience is abstract and recurring, with already renowned productions such as Vestiges, urban architectures and landscapes, and with more intimate pieces of personal experimentation that study people and faces.

All this has been kept concealed for ages, now seeing the light and amazement of discovery, showing an unprecedented regard for the living world, an unexpected attention to living beings, which were completely absent from his larger works.

PRIVATE becomes a vital crossroads for linking together the multitude of roads travelled over the ten years of research. Detours taken to rediscover abandoned objects and forgotten places which, thanks to these pictures, are brought back to life: implied memories capable of finding a new position, living in the present and being shared in this exact moment.

The organisation of the various chapters permits the photographs to enable new visions to emerge, like keys opening up new worlds. New worlds that, at times, are a testament to the artist's direct involvement, but at other times demonstrate his ability to fully isolate himself, so as to be able to capture the detail of a shape, the complexity of a landscape, the sinuous lines of a woman's body, the depth of a gaze or the incredible irony of a situation.

The initial sentences of this piece underlined that this is not an exercise in archiving or cataloguing. In reality, it was more about rearranging. Just like rearranging a chest of drawers, an artistic and personal journey has been rearranged to reveal its hidden aspects: inclinations, interests and approaches to perceiving reality. It was about making choices and unveiling his own sensitivity and capabilities, without compromising the aesthetic integrity and formal rigour that we'd come to take for granted with this artist.

PRIVATE enables access to a refined simplicity, interpretable through the harmony and balance of many, diverse visual elements, held together by a single thread: owning reality and displaying it as one sees it, no filters, no alterations ex post. A thread that winds its way through ten years of journeys, thoughts, reflections, fun, familiar and complex beauty, encounters and moments of loneliness.

These images speak of beginnings and of apparitions over the course of time. A time whose essence is hidden in the moment the things were seen and perdures in the original, authentic emotion of a Polaroid image.


bottom of page