On a road trip around Italy, Milan-based photographer Stefan Giftthaler visually documented an abundance of statues that populated the landscape, intrigued by their seemingly random placement.
Perhaps it’s a tribute to Italy’s heritage — the preservation of art within the public realm, or maybe just a scattered attempt to rehome mass-produced statues. Either way, there is no obvious logic to their placement — with ancient Greek gods inhabiting supermarket car parks and a statue of Christ towering over motorway junctions. “What is interesting to me about these statues is the fact that someone took the time to buy them and put them there,” Stefan explains. “In our society this seems to have no rational meaning, and often what has no rational meaning is just ignored or considered useless. But I think the fact of having a statue in a garden somehow goes back to a magical and almost sacred tradition in the relationship with places, that now is something forgotten and done unconsciously.” Through intelligent composition, Stefan captures both the harmony and disorder of the relationship between the traditional figures and the urban architecture. The ubiquitous nature of the classical masterpieces forces the observation of the statues and ignites dialogues regarding their cultural significance and symbolic heritage.
“What is interesting to me about these statues is the fact that someone took the time to buy them and put them there.”
All images © Stefan Giftthaler