12 Sep 2017

Ergo Sum – An Interview with Valerio Polici

I found it fascinating that a train was moving around the city with writings on it that were unauthorised, and therefore illegal...


ERGO SUM (2009-2016)

“The dominant segment of the metropolitan ethos is the loss of experience. In the febrile excitement for the industrial production of canned personalities, disposable identities, men become spectator of the world, in the eternal Sunday of their existence.”

(Bloom theory – Tiqqun 2012)

A mental odyssey between the intestinal spaces of the metropolis, searching that adventure that will never come, because all of the possible scenarios are already drawn.
That’s the waltz of the existential clandestine state of being.


Valerio Polici Ergo Sum


Born in Rome in 1984, Valerio Polici studied marketing and advertising in Rome and Lisbon. He is intrigued by photography, he started as a self-taught photographer and later took several courses on the art form in Rome, Padua, Paris and Riga. Eventually, he began to collaborate with major Italian and international magazines. His photos have been exhibited in Portugal, Turkey, Germany, at Madre Museum in Naples, and at the Architecture Biennale of Venice. Check his interview and some photos taken from his work “Ergo Sum (2009-2015)” exposed in “Cross The Streets” Exhbition in Rome.


Valerio Polici Ergo Sum


Your passion for photography begins during the nights spent in the train depots, in the company of other writers, with whom you used to write. What fascinated you about Writing and why did you focus on its more vandalistic side when you stopped painting and concentrated on photography?

I found it fascinating that a train was moving around the city with writings on it that were unauthorised, and therefore illegal. These names took over urban spaces, without an apparent logic. I grew up in a strict environment, where everything had a specific goal, where rules and boundaries had to be respected. Everything was already decided. Graffiti were a wonderful breath of fresh air. Discovering what one had to overcome to paint an underground –  the obstacles, the darkness, the adrenalin, the tunnels – only increased the great attraction I already had for this world. It was a way of challenging oneself, a constant adventure, a way to forget about everything else. My photographic research originated from the need to understand: where did my obsession with that world come from? So, without any photographic background, I started taking pictures of my friends during our nights out. I needed to have proof of what we were doing. In time, my obsession focused on this activity. The research and the necessity to create a visual transposition of my life became increasingly important, it replace graffiti, and became a full time job.


Valerio Polici Ergo Sum


Who have been your references, as a writer and a photographer respectively?

As a writer, I drew my inspiration from different places. The Roman school obviously had an enormous impact since they were the first graffiti I saw, the power of the essential. Other names that have left a mark are Chob and Kaf (massive), Nug, Foe, Kripoe (always innovative). With regards to photography, I chose not to look at anyone, and try to create something very personal. As a writer, I obviously knew Alex Fakso’s work, and while I appreciated the celebratory side of it, I quickly understood that my research was focused elsewhere.


Valerio Polici Ergo Sum


So how has your identity as a photographer been defined? How important has Writing been during your photographic career?

It has been a long process. I insisted on the same subject, taking away all those elements that could lead my photographs back to a specific topic. I was attracted to more ambiguous images, the ones that raise questions rather than give answers. My photographs portrayed writers, but it could have been anyone. They were implicit, metaphoric. That was the moment I understood my work was evolving. The graffiti were just an excuse and an interior geography was being traced: research, escape, perdition.


Valerio Polici Ergo Sum



View more from Valerio Polici’s website


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