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Leonardo Magrelli
Hollywood Park Casino, Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, 2021
Inkjet print on luster paper, 12 x 8,5 cm
Frame, 50 x 35 cm, included

Edition of 15 + 2 AP, numbered and signed by the artist

At first glance West of Here looks like a classical photographic survey of Los Angeles, following in the footsteps of the many great photographers who worked in that city. But with a closer look, the work reveals more. All the images come in fact from Grand Theft Auto V, a video game set in Los Santos, an “open world” scenario that closely resembles Los Angeles and its surroundings. Instead of photographing directly “in-game” though, the pictures are intentionally collected from the web – from numerous screenshots, wallpapers and videos originally taken by different players around the world. This process serves to shed a further light on the ubiquitous proliferation of image-making, whilst creating a single narrative out of a “collective memory” of a place that doesn’t exist. Indeed, is it possible to photograph such a place? And what does it mean to do so? What light are we writing with? While exploring the possibilities and the meanings of photographing a virtual place, the work addresses further issues, such as the truthfulness of photography and our belief in this medium as a trace of reality. Collected from the web, edited, cropped and turned to black and white by the author, the images lose their virtual evidence and blur the distinction between false and real.

Leonardo Magrelli (1989) lives and works in Rome. After studying Design first and Art History later, he began working as a graphic and book designer. A certain openness to manipulation and reuse of images, inherent in the graphic design work, as well as a particular attention to project and research, rather than instinctuality alone, are characteristics that remain visible in the author's practice even after converting to photography. The awareness of images’ hybrid and ambiguous nature is in fact a constant subtext of his work, which varies from time to time between a more conceptual approach to photography and a more descriptive and documentary one, often mixing the two. Alongside his personal research, he collaborates with the collective Vaste Programme, founded with Giulia Vigna and Alessandro Tini in 2017, to experiment with post-photography, installations and new media.

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