Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which a spoken word or phrase temporarily sounds meaningless to the listener due to a steady stream of repetition. Kind of like when your dear old grandmother (bless her heart), compliments your good looks on repeat. While well-intentioned, the broken record reiteration starts to sound a little hollow. Thankfully this strange occurrence only happens in semantics, because the highly methodical repetition seen in Luigi Bonaventura‘s photographs feels anything but meaningless.
In fact, it is the hyper-repetition of pastel walls, closed windows, and not-so-private balconies that makes Bonaventura’s latest series ”Behind the Edge Jesolo Beach, Venice“ so enchanting. His images of vacant hotel façades embrace the unexpected power in redundancy. Bonaventura tells us that his photos are in no way a critique of uniformity; rather the homogeneity frees the artist to translate his passion for architecture into a captivating aesthetic.
When Bonaventura traveled to Jesolo, he was struck by the numerous hotels that were closed for the season and wanted to continue the blueprint of isolated façades used in his previous series “Behind the Edge, NYC." Bonaventura took photos of the resort town’s finest hotels during a week in March when the area was free of tourists. "The real mission is to show each structure as its Platonic ideal,” he says. “That is, as the architect imagined it—not as it all too often looks in real life." Inspired by the idea of an expressive painting, like a Mondrian, Bonaventura focused on line, color, and shape to capture the seaside glamour of these often overlooked buildings.
It is difficult to stop gazing at these photographs, which give these simple structures a commanding character. A pastel daydream, these retro façades look like they could have been used for a vintage beach postcard that arrived a couple decades late. The soft, slightly washed-out colors of cyan and salmon coupled with porthole windows, decorative railings, and shabby awnings induce a nostalgia that is magnified by repetition. Something Bonaventura calls a "happy accident."
Photos courtesy of Luigi Bonaventura. This post originally appeared on Architizer, an Atlantic partner site.