‘ALIQUAL is not a site-specific history. It’s a story about all of us and it is important that it is sustained and widespread. Because an earthquake can destroy the houses but only the man can destroy roots. The reference is to Iceland, rich country failed overnight without objective responsibilities of the inhabitants, to the economic crisis in Greece; to the limbo in which our country has lived for decades between well-being, incurable economic crisis, bad politics and lack of interest …’
On 6 April 2009 the land breaks into a jolt of magnitude 5.8 plunging everyone in a quick and unspeakable state of distress. As symbolic deployment of a coming era, all the sense of the documentarist Massimo Mastrorillo’s project is in its title. ALIQUAL is the result of the endless repetition of the word “L’AQUILA” until it loses its true meaning and seems to be an anagram. That is all that, post 2009, L’Aquila is no longer. It is no longer a christian simulacrum, a blackboard for the school, a floor, a building, the habits of a domestic dog. The reference to a certain place with a friendly aesthetic despite the dramatic events of that April is non-stop to remember, without claiming to sew the cracks up. The direction of the book goes to the succession of images that can detect plots of cultural and historical relations, now “failed” because broken. And here they stand, only the 88 prints, because all strictly vertical. With a digital camera and a flash, Mastrorillo visit the interiors of houses, symbols of the devastation, and chooses the study of fragments and pieces of the scene, showing an analysis where the episodic story-telling shows a strong identity of the place. The same place that paradoxically reveals itself in a unitary concept, within the limits of a context that is as recognisable as painfully theatrical.
ALIQUAL – L’AQUILA is an enclave in the territory, locked and frozen as it was the day of the quake. It is the symbol of a city that is still without solution. Because after six years everything has remained as it was. And after more than 6 years after the first pictures of the wound L’Aquila, this new, vibrant portrait of a city that fights for the right to live with fullness and freedom his life confirms an essential reading in the landscape of contemporary reportage photography.
Massimo Mastrorillo is a photographer born in Turin and based in Rome. He has studied at The University of Perugia and is a graduate of the European Institute of Design, Rome.
Skinnerboox is an Italian Independent publisher focused on contemporary photography.