Black and white photographic printing on PVC, 120 x 280 cm, 2017


“Mountains — like sport, work and art — should only serve as a means to grow the man who is inside us.”

Walter Bonatti, Italian mountaineer, explorer, journalist and writer

The peaks of Modena

After various on-site inspections of Modena’s industrial areas, Monica Camaggi became fascinated by the junk mountains created by Modena Rottami, a company that deals with the collection and disposal of industrial waste. In “Ad Maiora”, the artist is a nostalgic observer, perceiving a romantic echo in the profiles and in the skyline of these backbones of scrap, and transported back to holiday postcards of the 1920s and 1930s. Black and white shots with a fairly thick dark border, portraits mostly of mountainous landscapes.

Variable altitude

It is no coincidence in “Ad Maiora” that the mountaineers exchange greetings and good wishes as they strive towards the summit, hoping to climb the peaks and return to the ground safely. At Modena Rottami, the height of the scrap heap is always a good sign: the higher the heap, the more work there is. As is common is Camaggi’s work, she begins with a photograph which she then prints onto canvas, in this case PVC, stretching the image with force, often enlarging it like a real pop operation, on materials that give a strong painterly impression.

“The man asked the mountain to touch the sky. | The mountain fulfilled his desire. | And when it was done a cloud brushed against it | deep in a heart that is sick | from nostalgia….”

Mina, The Mountain, 1989



Postcards from the end

In “Ad maiora” the small stature of the postcard has been turned on its head and replaced by a huge image, with mountains of industrial rubble at sunset echoing profiles of the Apennines from the twenties and thirties. “Ad maiora” has the same sense of nostalgia that infuses Woody Allen’s “Manhattan”, the same “metaphor for the decay of contemporary culture” also found in urban and industrial pieces. It is retro verse that engages cinematically, in black and white.