I live here
The theme of the house and how the perception of it can affect the quality of life is at the core of Lichena Bertinato's photographic research. Started in 2015, this on-going project is now more topical than ever, highlighting the psychophysical drama of the pandemic. In I live here, the recurring theme is her daily struggle with the lack of space she has been experiencing since she has moved to London. The series of 10 isolated and solitary self-portraits, document the ways she employed to fit in the tiny spaces of her flat. The sequence of pictures that depicts non-events of her daily life, such as folding the bed, dealing with an overloaded chest-drawer or an overfull wardrobe, poignantly reveal the photographer’s emotional state about this compact way of living.
The emotional state is now aggravated by the restrictions we all have to adhere to because of the pandemic. The home, then, becomes an increasingly restricted and restrictive place (physical and mental), where the walls seem to crush the human being. In spite of everything, the artist - the protagonist of each shot - timidly attempts to give meaning to everyday gestures. We find her ironing, tidying up drawers, the wardrobe, and in every little gesture of everyday life. With a tragi-comic expression worthy of seventeenth-century theatre, she puts herself in the wardrobe or the clothes hanger, places of order but also refuges of the soul. In Pic. 9, we find her looking desperately at her suitcases and imagining that one day she will be able to travel again.
For now, the artist and we are all stuck within these four walls and so we have no choice but to turn to our imagination and hope for a better future.
After all, as French philosopher Gastone Bachelard in “The Poetics of Space” said: “For our house is our corner of the world. As has often been said, it is our first universe, a real cosmos in every sense of the word. If we look at it intimately, the humblest dwelling has beauty”.