Vittorio Santoro

Searching for... (A Day and Night in Amsterdam/Reguliersgracht), Night

Pigment print on Hahnemühle Fine Art Baryta 325 gsm
Maple frame with museum glass
43 x 57 cm (framed: 46 x 60 x 3,4 cm)
Edition of 7 plus 2 AP
Eu 3.000 (excluding VAT and shipping)

Vittorio Santoro
Born in 1962, Zürich, Switzerland
Lives and works in Paris, France and Zurich, Switzerland

For his works, be they installations, text-drawings, photographs, films, sculptures, or sound pieces, Vittorio Santoro chooses specific ways to manipulate conventions to desired effects believing that creativity is an ongoing process of continual change and response. His characteristically intricate visual sensibility engenders startling, yet uncanny forms and constellations. Santoro’s works seem rooted in everyday observations but push beyond in order to reveal latent historical, socio-political, and metaphysical realities. His practice conceals a tension between the referential potential of objects and the choreographic nature of their placement in context. In presenting his works, imbued with what might seem an obvious artificiality and abstraction devoid of any obvious explanation, Santoro ensures that the audience maintain an objective perspective on them. The artist is sensitive to the unassuming nature of everyday interactions: he examines the notion of individual agency as it plays out within larger networks of clichés, common ideals, models of authority, or processes involving manipulation and power. –Daniel Kurjaković

In 1973, Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader made In Search of the Miraculous (One Night in Los Angeles), a group of photographs taken in Los Angeles that show a lone figure wandering through the city with a torch, towards the Pacific Ocean. Two years later Ader went missing at sea whilst trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean, from America to Europe, in a small sailboat. Ader had planned to make a second series of photographs, titled Searching for the Miraculous (One Night in Amsterdam), once he had returned to Amsterdam. This work would have echoed his earlier Los Angeles work.

This is the inspiration and starting point for Searching for... (A Day and Night in Amsterdam) (2012) by Vittorio Santoro. Santoro enlisted his friend, Paul Groot, to take photographs of him walking, torch in hand, to places in Amsterdam with which he had a personal connection. Santoro also then walked to places that had been significant to Bas Jan Ader: the place where his work Fall 2 had been filmed; the locations of Art & Projects, his gallery at the time, where he would have had exhibited after his return from America; places where he had hung out with his art student friends in his younger years....

"I like the subtext of his action and, well, the question it raises: the artist seeking – and perhaps finding – something that in many cases will not resonate with the addressed audience. An enterprise that implies determination, freedom of thought, but also loneliness and incomprehension. The work is not just about my ability or inability, due to an unforeseen event, to make the work he never made. It equally embodies the question of what is more important; the quest or the goal? Does the experience of an action serve a purpose beyond the principle of cause and effect? This unexpected and unannounced suspension is, I think, what piqued my interest and I treasure that it is something interesting to ponder about."

In the picture Searching for... (A Day and Night in Amsterdam/Reguliersgracht), Night (2012/2023), taken from the series, we see Santoro in the dark with a torch. He has walked to, and now stands at, the exact spot where Bas Jan Ader, in 1970, rode his bike into the canal for the film Fall 2.