Who are the Marvellinis?
Andrea and Carlo Marvellini (fotomarvellini.com), the inheritors of a mysterious photographic studio in Milan. We have recently published photographic material belonging to our ancestors’ generations of photographers. They worked with anonymity in order to immortalise those clients who preferred to be photographed wearing disguises so that they would not be recognised.
Each of you, use an adjective to describe the other
We both agree in describing ourselves as creative, passionate, self-critical, experimenters, sarcastic and romantic. We think in concentric circles and live on parallel planes. We feel, and we love to define ourselves, as pop-up books.
Of all the people whose portraits you have transformed, whom do you prefer? Would you be able to tell a story about whoever it was; how old they were, if they had a wife or children, a lover?
The subjects we prefer are those that we do very little to recreate. Out of a sort of respect, we suppose. For all the others, history is changed in that dark room which is the Marvellini mind. By cancelling the previous identity, we then proceed to create a new one for someone who, almost always, was no longer remembered by anyone.
Who are your super heroes in real life?
Truly, you don’t see many around. Well, maybe none. Let’s hope that it’s because, in accordance with tradition, the typical super hero takes refuge in anonymity.
What does vintage mean for you both?
Vintage is adjective, a classification used to attribute a certain value to objects and products that date back to over twenty years ago, and that for some time have been considered “cult” for a variety of reasons. They are often attributed with a finish and a quality which can no longer be found in similar products; often it’s the fault of industrialisation and the relative lowering of production costs. The identity of our portraits is certainly vintage, but even this is a trick planned by the Marvellini Project, thanks to the recovery and use of antique frames. In point of fact, however, they are not, given that we are dealing with photographs taken in the present.
What does uncanny mean?
“Das Unheimliche” is the German word used by Freud to classify a sentiment belonging to the wide sphere of fear and which was translated into Italian as “il perturbante”(the uncanny) or, more rarely, as “il sinistro”(the sinister) or “lo spaesamento” (the feeling of being disoriented). It is manifested when a situation, a person or an object (as we have also discovered, a photograph) is perceived as familiar and at the same time foreign. The Marvellinis are in their element.
What is your favourite aphorism?
Ah, we have several handed down from wise provincial relatives, others acquired at school and many others from life. We have chosen as a synthesis of the Marvellini art, one of Einstein’s: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. And if he said it…