Andrea Riboni is a young artist. Actually, I don’t think he likes to be called an “artist”. Let’s say he’s a photographer. I have been privileged to meet him because I found a delicate, sensitive and intense person. He loves to create projects that can be replicated, something that others might carry on, one day.
This is something wonderful. Another wonderful thing is that he loves to talk about art with vibrancy, measure and competence and, nonetheless, using a simple and understandable language. However, beyond what I just said, I was really impressed by his desire of always leaving things “open”, of doing without interpreting, of providing a prompt without defining a unique goal to be achieved.

This project of his, the iioo project, contains all these things. Every image is created to express a possible reality. Every face is real or realistic. In order to do this, Andrea devises symmetrical faces and then he makes them asymmetrical, imperfect, so that they can be perceived as truthful by people looking at them. Perfect symmetry does not belong to this world, we need flaws to be convincing.

What do I see in this picture? Or rather, who do I see…

These is us. In the picture on the left I am someone who was born a little while ago, an adult who is self-aware, rather attractive, a little narcissist, capable, brilliant and sound. I can manage stress, I have the right dose of ambition and I like being with others. I like it when others get to know me and I like to try and give people a hand. I feel home everywhere. Sometimes, however, I don’t feel home everywhere.

In the picture on the left, instead, I am someone who was born a long time ago. I am a little child and a caring parent at the same time. I am sensitive and often sad. I’ve never liked myself but, over time, I have learnt that everyone doesn’t like themselves in some respect. I understand things before others. I did’t use to talk about it in the past, but now I do. I don’t know how to tell jokes and I am quite ashamed if I am with people I don’t know. I live in a street with tall buildings.

These is us. Not all of me, two of me. Upon closer examination, I am wondering how many Is are there. Empowerment is the path through which every I can acquire dignity. Authenticity arises from the look of every pair of eyes, the smile of every pair of lips, the breath of every pair of nostrils. And there are many more couples.
“Every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”. This quote, by Carlo Mazzacurati, reminds me of this too: Every person is fighting to emerge, to be whole, to correspond to themselves, to be complete and authentic. This struggle deserves respect.
Every I deserves respect, dignity and the right to exist. Never give any part of yourself up, fight for all of those parts to be you. “De perto, ninguém é normal”, sings Caetano Veloso: From up-close, nobody is normal.

And now, if you were here, I’d like to ask you: and you, who you are?