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Emanuele Alberto Cirello

Emanuele Alberto Cirello


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About Me:I am a Year 13 student which aspires to be an architect. I am interested in anything I don't yet know, and I mostly write about art, politics , Italian culture and inspirational people, although I will try to write for as many categories possible, just to test myself and get to know more things.

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Aldo Tolino: "The Secret"

Aldo Tolino: "The Secret"

Aldo Tolino is an Austrian media-philosopher and media-artist which creates sculptural objects out of printed photographs or distorted portraits made through the use of digital art. Most of his works consist of printed photographs which are folded and turned into sculptures which are then photographed, and the end ‘result’ is what is visible in the exhibitions.

His works and academic research are focused on the intersections of media-theory, art and games, especially user-collaboration and social networks. In 2008, he received a PhD from the University for Applied Arts of Vienna. His area of knowledge as a university professor and lecturer are the topics media literacy and media design. As a freelance artist he explores digital and analogic textures and has realized various game-based art projects.

The folding techniques are different and so are the photographs; this is what makes the work interesting, as there are infinite number of permutations that will work for this purpose. The artists based his project on the concept of redundancy, treated much like a philosophical argument, which loops around continuously and repeats itself with no answer or clear goal.

He deconstructs, reassembles, weaves and folds printed photographs in order to create origami-like sculptural pieces. Tolino then photographs the arrangements, converting the pieces back into two-dimensional objects. The disturbing quality of the images is not only due by their apparent distortions, transformation and lack of proportionality and privation of identity; in their conversion back to a photograph, these pieces suggest a cycle of infinite reprocessing and transformation, in which the portrait continues to develop further away from the original image.

The fact that the folded pictures are photographed is also very interesting, as it creates a contrasting dialogue between both the precision and the inaccuracy that the medium of photography exhibits.

Besides his artworks, Tolino as philosopher is currently writing a book project called Interferenz, which deals with the themes explored here: paper, folding, image, object, sculpture, texture and recursion.

“The Secret” by Aldo Tolino is a portrait which has been folded and made into a sculptural piece to then be photographed again and exhibited as a photograph. This origami like sculptural piece has used folding techniques to change and distort the facial features of the subject depicted.

The portrait is divided in many small sections which are visible due to the folded paper. This produces a very intricate pattern, where the lines formed by the folding cross themselves and divide the picture in many small facets in the shape of triangles and rhombuses. The presence of this casual or maybe even calculated pattern of straight dominant lines characterise the composition as they are surface veining of the sculpture and mix with the transformation which the artist has applied to the subject’s portrait.

The picture from which the sculptural composition has been made from has a very simple and plain beige background, which is very uniform and blends in with the suffused tones of the picture, whose colours are not very saturated and could merge with the very pale background.

One of the key features of the picture is the lighting. It hits the man’s face from a source possibly situated slightly higher up his face and to his left. The light source isn’t visible, but however it is able to pick out the relevant features of the man’s face in the most accurate detail. This creates a visible contrast in the right side of the face, highlighting the shape of his cheekbones. The light also creates a very intricate shadowing effect in the man’s beard, producing a very neat contrast between the hairs, the shadow and the skin. The subject is the central focus of the photograph and the artist has picked up in his picture a lot of detail, and the light contouring effect on him highlights those details.

The picture has also been meticulously folded, changing and distorting the subject’s features through the use of geometry and line. In this origami-like sculpture the artist has made the composition seemingly unstructured and broken down, but at the same time it is very homogeneous despite the fact that has a quite disturbing effect if stared at for a long time. Although there is a very precise use of geometry in the transformation of the subject, there is the lack of symmetry and obviously of the central axis, making the figure of the man photographed very chaotic. This feeling of chaotic composition is also given by the angular composition whose lines and folded sections follow no logical order.

I very like this piece of work because I find interesting such a simple but at the same time complicated transformation. Generally folding blank paper isn’t much of a big deal, but the fact that the portrait of a human figure is folded in many pieces making it look unnatural and disproportionate. The artist’s concept of folding portraits could be used in my project in order to depict mental or emotional breakdowns of individuals, using this type of visual transformation to depict the way a sane and stable individual can be fragmented into pieces if overtaken by external factors such as anxiety, stress and nervousness. This would make the folding of the paper also symbolise the way such an event can possibly shape a person’s life in a dramatic and permanent way.

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