"Extraordinary Voyages" by Christian Tagliavini is a photographic work that transports the observer into the world of literature, a world in which images adopt a distinct 19th-century aesthetic and evoke an almost cinematographic language. The work's title is both tribute and citation: it refers to the eponymous collection of 54 works penned by French writer Jules Verne.
The photographs, composed according to visual art rules, divulge a third passion of their author, namely that of exploring the genre of the portrait in all its multiple facets. Drawing on Verne's three novels "Journey To The Centre Of The Earth", "From The Earth To The Moon" and "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea", the photographer further develops the stories by creating characters that did not appear in the original narratives.
These imaginary characters - passengers on the aforementioned voyages - are portrayed with great finesse. The images are striking in their detail, the invented heroes assume an identity befitting their title, their costumes and their accessories, reminiscent of the iconographic attributes found in classical painting.
The decor acts like as a sober setting and yet it is not indifferent, since it contains certain clues linking each photograph to one of Verne's novels. The pictorial elements may be reduced in number, but they are effective in their expression. The universe of Christian Tagliavini recaptures the suspense, the mysterious atmosphere and the explicit and punctilious style of Jules Verne.
The photographic work falls somewhere between transmedial narration and literary citation. The individual characters pose before the camera, submerging into their roles and settings and ultimately giving rise to a new story.
English translation by Claire Weyland