Dora Maar - Tate Modern


This exhibition traces Dora Maar’s long career and the political context, professional opportunities and personal networks that shaped her decisions at every stage of her life. Initially she was educated in the applied arts and painting at Paris’s most progressive art schools.


In her early twenties, encouraged by mentors who saw her talent, she decided to pursue photography. She took assignments in fashion and advertising, travelled to documentary projects to highlight social conditions at the time. Her career was vast: as well as making and making photo reporting she created wildly inventive images that came to occupy an important place in surrealism. Indeed there is a huge variety of photo collages in the show.


Her career developments show her commitment in pursuing her salary. She worked, which was unconvetional at the time because she was from a bourgeois family, but she seized her professional opportunity, showing ambition and resourcefulness. Dora Maar was radical and brave: In Europe’s increasingly fraught political climate, Maar signed her name to numerous left-wing manifestos. Maar’s political leanings brought her close to the surrealists and their shared outlook soon expressed itself in her work. The surrealist movement aimed to transform human experience. At the movement’s heart was a rejection of the rational in favour of a vision that embraced the power of the unconscious mind.







Surrealists photographers choose Paris as the special place for surrealist’s imagination. The chronicling of Paris occupied a special place in the surrealist imagination, indeed photographers found the potential for the marvellous, mythic and strange in the historic city, creating wistful images. Surrealist photographers were very much able to create uncanny photographs, as reality itself was surreal. Dora Maar used crops and dramatic angles to offer a disorienting view of the city manipulating her images, creating photographies which were far from being factual.

Pablo Picasso by Dora Maar, analogic photography

The world as will and representation - Arthur Schopenhauer


In “The world as will and representation” Schopenhauer demonstrates that the world has no independent life from mental perception. Without the subject which perceive the object would not exist. The object, which include animals, human beings and objects, are only the subject’s representations. The categories by which reality exist are time and space. Time is considered as the sequence of movement and space is position through time, and time without space doesn’t make sense and vice-versa.


Every moment exists as it cancels the moment before, this means that the present has not extension and it doesn’t last. Past and future doesn’t exist and they are perceivable in our dreams. As long as time, space exist only relatively. It is in the conjunction of time and space that we can perceive reality, it is by the activity of the material world that we can see the essence of reality.

But the essence of reality mutates: one moment is one way and the other it changes. I would say reality is something in continuous becoming which is never being. 

Arthur Schopenhauer


Human beings could not say the world doesn’t or does exist. It seems like a dream, when the sun reflects on the sand and it seems like water when you are in the desert. Or when a rope in a garden looks like a snake, you are not sure you are seeing what is real. The world is a representation, and it is submitted to our reason. 

The republic - Plato


At the beginning of The Republic Plato explains the myth of the cave in a dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon. The myth talks about a group of people who live chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from objects passing in front of a fire. The shadows are the prisoners' reality. In the era of Plato, the aim of the myths is to express what is licit doing, and the intention of Plato is to express that philosophers reach the supreme intelligible forms of reality. This myth expresses the theory of knowledge by Plato: if we are stuck in the cave we only perceive the shadows of objects and not the real ones. In this context he denies the existence of reality, which is considered as a reflection of reality inside the subject. 

Ideally Plato privileges the dimension of ideas, more than the material dimension. 

The “iperuranio” is basically the part beyond the sky, but metaphorically it is the world of ideas, which means that reality can only be achieved through ideas and not with our mere senses.

A representation of the myth of the cave by Plato

 This myth raises a discussion about the notion of reality, considered as the world we can perceive. Human being don’t know the the objects in the world directly and immediately, they only see the representation of external reality. We are prisoners in a cave and we only see a shadow, a mental representation, of the external reality. 

Luigi Ghirri - Kodacrome

Kodachrome is a book of Luigi Ghirri’s photographs published in 1978, when photography was starting to become an art form in Italy. It is a reflection on photography, as the title refers to the Kodachrome film which was very common in the twenty century. This title refers to the corporality of photography, indeed it is part of a support that takes part in the world and it is tangible.


Some photos of this selection of the archive are photos of a photo: they represent the symbol of the irruption of images in the public space of that time. This invasion, as long as provoking a radical transformation of the environment, creates a sense of ambiguity between truth and false which question our sense of reality.

With photography Ghirri establishes the difference between real and surreal. 


Paradoxically, with the over exposition of images we don’t see an upgrade of the ability of people to read images. In fact, they create a mechanism of habit. The aim of the photographer is to slow down this mechanism of lecture of images.

Luigi Ghirri, analogical photography

Photography represent a space in which you can read reality, in which you can still see the world around, it is still close to reality. In this context the work of Luigi Ghirri is trying to educate us to perceive, it gives us a path to follow to conserve our capacity to see. The key of lecture of every photo of Luigi Ghirri really leaves part of the message to the viewer, it depends on what the viewer knows or think about the subject. 

Time and being - Martin Heidegger 


In Time and Being Heidegger analyses the notion of time and he points out that it is only perceived by living entities. Each ones has a different perception of time, comparing animals for example, but Heidegger uses a generic expression as Dasein: being in the world. The aim of the author in this book is to explain the horizons which put into the existence. The essence of Dasein is understandable only if we relate it with the notion of time, his history and appearance. 


Heidegger puts the example of “res extensa” by Cartesio which is nature which has its apparent characteristics. The other component of reality is what he calls “res cogitans” which is the soul. Heidegger says that this explanation leave the notion of being in its substantiality. It does not explain ontologically the notion of the soul, which is a thing we can not perceive directly.

 Heidegger uses the expression “innerworld” to describe the reality which does not stands as a constant objective presence. We identify the soul, what creates nature, with the world’s interpretation of the innerwordly. 


Martin Heidegger

The author makes an analysis of the worldliness of the world starting from Cartesio. His categorization (divisio, figura and motus) of the res cogitans reflects on its objective characteristics, but they are not absolute. If the world change position and the light changes we might see it differently, so they are not stable qualities. Everything in the world might have the nomination of Dasein, of existing, because changing its characteristics we might not even see it.