Sinking Stone by Cristiano Volk shines a mirror on Venice; the theater, history, tourism and excesses of a tragic city; beautiful but flawed and decaying.
Drawing on traditions of baroque theater, sculpture, architecture, and painting, Cristiano’s photographs shine a harsh light on the contrasting surfaces and residents of the city. Sinking Stone is a modern day Vanitas, showing both sides of Venice – a town immortalised through its history and tourism and a precarious, unstable island sinking into water.
The constant invasion of tourists creates a sort of living theater, full of moments and opportunities. Volk concentrates on the body language, gestures and poses of these flocks, desperate to photograph, pose and record with grotesque regularity, without penetrating the surface of the city. Cristiano’s color work also relates to the Venetian pictorial technique of “tonalismo”, which meant depth was achieved by means of the use of color. In Sinking Stone, the use of flash and of a limited color palette points to a different end: illusionistic space is constantly challenged by overexposed areas and awkward angles.
Cristiano’s Venice appears like a Gorgon mask, a vulgar, almost overwhelming face which behind reveals little. After all, vanus, the Latin root word for the city, means empty.
The whole book is composed with the serif Magister typeface family, a revival made by the young Italian designer Leonardo Azzolini (Omnitype) as a thesis project for the Master in Type Design at ECAL. The entire typeface shows incredible curves that are very close to the original Magister made by Aldo Novarese.