Influenced by the research of anthropologist Francesco Remotti (1943) about the problematic character of human identity, photographer Valentina Murabito (Italy, 1981) wanted to create a series of portraits that would break the rigid rules of implying a strong identity. In his work, Remotti stated that identity is a factor of cultural impoverishment, explaining, “It’s a vocal plea for recognition that fails to take into account the wealth and vitality of relationships with others, and drastically reduces all relationships with others to those with the stranger and with the enemy”.
With her black and white series, Against Identity, Murabito invites the viewer to nourish himself in alterity, or ‘otherness’. The imagery is focused on gestures and compositions of figures which seem to float in a field of bright white or all-absorbing black. The viewer is not able to define the figures’ identity or facial expression because of the blurred surfaces and white painted brushes. However, the subjects, of which Murabito is one, do communicate moods and human uncertainties, which can be detected by their body language. This contradiction is strengthened by the combination of analogue photography, painting and graphics, which visualize a game between the reality of photography and the fiction of painting.