The Lights of London – Romeo Vendrame’s Photographic Series Choreography
by Lena Fritsch

Undoubtedly what is thus palpitating in the depths of my being must be the image, the visual memory…. And suddenly the memory returns.
(Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time, 1922)

London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared, and battle come down.
(The Clash, London Calling, 1979)

The warm yellows of the street lights and advertising signs in the centre of the photograph vie with the flickering neon sign inviting the public into the Raymond Revuebar. In the narrow alley below the bar there are the darkly blurred silhouettes of individuals succumbing to the seductive appeal of the big city at night. What may be going on behind the small, barred windows is anyone’s guess. In another photograph the nearby Taboo Revue strip club gleams palely in the pitch black darkness. And in rain-soaked Wardour Street there is the yellow-orange glow of a famous music venue, the Marquee Club. A car is parked outside it, the door to the club seems to be open – a blues or rock concert could be about to begin.

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by Roberta Valtorta

Romeo Vendrame refers to himself as the “author and director” of this work. “Author” in that he was the photographer who took the pictures some forty years ago, back in the seventies, and “director” in that today, forty years later, he has once again returned to them, profoundly transforming them. He describes the time shift between the decades – or epochs, we might say – as “dance”, thus giving the work its title, Choreography.
Vendrame uses the concept of dance to refer to the complex, rhythmical processes of memory. And indeed, his is an intense work of remembrance and reactivation of situations experienced, things seen and ideas formulated, bringing about this process on the visual plane.

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by Nadine Olonetzky

Dots, bursts, ribbons of light in yellow, green, violet and blue; a thousand shimmering points of colour. A shining, twinkling face, perhaps, or a ghostly mob emerging from a dark room, roaming against a strange night sky. Romeo Vendrame’s Neutrino head and Neutrino half photo series, created between 2004 and 2006, explore the space where shapes merge into the non-objective and abstraction takes over. The face, which we perceive only indefinitely, and the half-figure, apparently suspended in the blackness, consist of clouds of luminous dots. Like weightless, glittering ornaments, they recall cosmic phenomena such as hitherto undiscovered constellations or an alien milky way. Certainly the black depths out of which these disembodied faces and sparkling figures shine suggests the endlessness of space – inhospitably vast, lonely and cold. The effect is chilling but also a reminder that everything is interconnected and made of the same basic materials – be it moss, stars, man or stone. Neutrinos, the particles from which the series take their names, «are not among the building blocks of the cosmos» however(1). They are, in fact, solar emissions, tiny chargeless subatomic «ghost particles of an insignificantly small size» that shoot from Sun to Earth at close to the speed of light, whizzing around us and through us in unimaginable quantities. They pass through matter of all kinds – through trees, mountains, humans and stones.

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