Contemporaneous Extension


Weekend Book Review

A little reminder that Whitehot Magazine published a review of mine on Charles Traub’s most recent book of photographs. Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s was a pleasure to ingest, and made me wish I had some nostalgia to attach to the images myself. Below is a little excerpt, with the full review here.

 

“The balance between sensuality and eroticism is a visual theme that heavily populates this series. Photographs that harp upon the stereotyped affections of Italians are more bologna than prosciutto in the first half of the publication. Couples kissing in parks or on benches are anti-climactic, giving an insight into the natives’ caves of coitus that doesn’t translate well. His recurring depiction of bums and backs, however, contradict the seamless perfection of the marble magnates and Madonnas.

Charles Traub, Ostia, 1982. From Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles Traub. Image courtesy of Charles Traub/Damiani.

Charles Traub, Ostia, 1982. From Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles Traub. Image courtesy of Charles Traub/Damiani.

They are total spank-bank material. His subjects’ bodies are clumsy, human. A sprawled nude female on the beach in Ostia looks like she could have been dropped from a UFO, undiscovered by passersby as Traub patiently awaits her mythical revival. He mocks Italy’s sculptures and facades with his own definitions of perfection, of desire and strength. His color-coordination is a sneer in the face of the monochrome tradition in the plastic arts.

Often preconceived as lazy and uninspiring, Traub uses this Minimalist ploy and reinvigorates it with motion and action. From a quick flip through this publication, one may infer that Italians dressed exclusively in primary colors. A bevy of young boys who grip the side of a dingy in Naples are literally swimming in blue. Beautiful ladies in yellow dresses abound, and entire red ensembles can be found outside bars and beside water banks. This serves predominantly as slapstick comedy, confirming that Europeans adore dressing in head-to-toe color, rather than a serendipitous indication that everyone is on the same page.”

Charles Traub, Florence, 1981. From Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles Traub. Image courtesy of Charles Traub/Damiani.

Charles Traub, Florence, 1981. From Dolce Via: Italy in the 1980s by Charles Traub. Image courtesy of Charles Traub/Damiani.

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