Formerly a cinema set painter, London-based Italian artist Lorenzo Vitturi’s photographic style is infused with theatricality and performativity. Creating site-specific interventions that sit at the intersection of photography, sculpture and performance, Vitturi harnesses photography as a space of transformation in which the changes in urban environments are recorded.
In a new exhibition at Flowers Gallery, London, Vitturi’s latest body of work Money Must be Made is on display. Inspired by and based at the Balogun Market on Lagos Island in Nigeria, the series explores the sprawling market, which is the second biggest of its kind in West Africa. Populated by tens of thousands of people each day, the market centres around its mobile street vendors, whom Vitturi worked with to produce a set of abstracted figure studies. Portrayed with their faces turned away from the camera and pictured against a background of fabrics sourced from the market, the images show the way the body transforms under the weight of goods that are stacked and balanced on top of it.
A large mural print on the central wall of the gallery shows the market in full swing, commanding the space and showing the full impact of what Vitturi has described as a “sensory overload” of colour and noise. This is accompanied by images of teetering totemic assemblages, which were created by layering photographic materials over physical objects found in Balogun, including prayer mats, beads, household products, hooves, horns and man-made plastic goods imported from China.
Whilst the artist’s previous project, entitled Dalston Academy explored the impact of gentrification on local businesses in an area in east London, this series looks at the opposite situation, where the thriving local market is said to be causing global corporations to relocate. Looming over the market is the now unoccupied Financial Trust House, a 27-storey building housing western corporations and banks. Standing in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle below, photographs taken from within the Financial Trust House are austere and muted in tone, serving to demonstrate the complex relationship between global capital and local trade in one of Africa’s fastest growing urban centres.
Money Must Be Made opens 11 May. Find out more here.
1. From Money Must Be Made © Lorenzo Vitturi.