Interview with Remmidemmi

My photographs are “short stories” about a world that is falling-down.
Each shot tells about worn-out characters who, in a sudden black-out of mind and body, crash with no attempt to save themselves.
They are unable to, because of the fatigue of the everyday representation of living, oppressed by appearance instead of simply existing.
We live in a distorted world of plastic surgery, which perpetuates stereotyped images that feed a preset marketing model. I believe that perfection is in imperfection.

Where do bodies with no regrets go?
I like to think that they stand up again, but wisely. To me, the crash is an abstract place where we hung, like in front of a turning point.
So it’s up to you to choose which direction to go. If you go right, you have to analyse the reasons that led to the fall.
If left, you ignore the consequences, and you mislead yourself by thinking that it is easier that way.
But bodies don’t hurt themselves casually. If that happens, it is because something went wrong inside ourselves.

Can we say that your work is about our society downfall?
I must say that my work is basically about the soul downfall, which is certainly polluted by the neurotic lifestyle that society dictates.
I think it is fun to bring out the rotten part, everything we cleverly hide.
The fall of the characters in my pictures is always connected to their low frequencies, the dark ones. It all starts from that point.

A lot of people know you as an actor, when did you start taking pictures?
I started to tear up people for fun. And now it is my only job. Before it, I was an actor for twenty years. I loved playing, but I couldn’t stand the atmosphere around me.
And I didn’t want to depend on people, directors and producers judging.
I felt I wanted to be the leader of my job, and “In extremis” gives me the chance to do whatever I want, with no time limits and feeling completely free.

And when did you realize that your project was turning into something serious?
When the Instagram team looked for me three years ago. They wanted to interview me, and it was like winning the Oscar: journalists, art galleries and clients came to me in the blink of an eye.
It was great and incredible, but I started feeling anxious, and I still do. I’m too emotional, especially to criticism, I don’t like being advised when I don’t want to, and to speak to someone about the future of my project.
So, you may say I turned into an unpleasant bear. It’s not easy to deal with things when they turn serious.

You went to Europe and the Us with “In Extremis”, people, journalists and experts are enthusiastic about your work. But what about art in Italy, nowadays?
I think it is not a good moment for art, in the whole Europe.
I know that culture is facing economic cuts, even in Holland and Belgium, but it is true that people working with art are more respected abroad.
Unfortunately I met few nice people in Italy, who wanted to work on the same level. Here in Italy powerful people subdue almost every artist.
For example: if a gallery owner calls me, I have to feel grateful one way or another. This doesn’t happen abroad.

Some of your pictures are lightly erotic, like “Sunday 2pm” with David Luna.
That picture got me in trouble with the Lgbt community abroad.
They said I was an omophobe just because I tried to describe, in an extreme and grotesque way, what many men do when they deal with a fatal mix: sex, drugs and parties.
David Luna plays a boy that has just come back home after a party, and he decides to have sex with courgettes, aubergines and carrots since he doesn’t have a real penis.
I find it bizarre that I was accused of being an omophobe, since I describe situations I personally, or almost personally, know. But this doesn’t mean that I have sex with vegetables!

Your relation with eroticism? How important is it in your project?
It moves inside and outside me on tiptoe, sometimes I can smell it from afar, and suddenly it shows itself powerful to my eyes.
Then I am attracted, as if it was the sirens’ song. It is unconceivable to live without eroticism.
And it naturally shows itself in my pictures from time to time, in some of them it is linked to a form of fetishism (like in “Sunday 2pm” and “Hungry doggy boy”), which is very present in my sexuality.
But I cannot say more.

Who are the main characters in your photos, and how do you choose them?
Most of them are actors. I work with colleagues and friends I’ve know for many years: Adelaide Di Bitonto (aka Lady Caída, a nickname chosen by a Spanish fan) is the queen of falls, since she has the highest number of participations in my project. There’s Lorenzo Balducci too (I started the project with him), Valentina De Giovanni, Joan Negrié, Alexandra LaCapria and many others.
They’re all actors. I feel uncomfortable when I shoot with people outside my entourage.
To smash someone against the ground, the ass exposed and the limbs in a mess, requires intimacy.
There are many people who want to experience the fall. I receive a lot of e-mails, sometimes I keep in touch for weeks, but then I can’t make it, it feels like a betrayal to my people.
So far only two girls from Barcelona succeeded in convincing me. But it is impossible to say no to a skydiver and tattoo girl, and to a group practising synchronized swimming.

Tell me a nice thing about this project. Even better, the nicest one.
It is easier to tell you the bad ones, because there are too many nice things walking around “In Extremis”, and I cannot remember the most moving one.
Maybe the fact that I’m still in love with this project after for years is the best thing. 2016 was very hard, because of some events that made me feel I didn’t want to go on and keep on playing free as I used to do.
I went through a massive crisis, and now I am slowly getting out of it.

What about 2017, then?
I will go back to Spain soon, I want to take pictures there. And I’m in touch with an art gallery in Berlin for an exhibition.
I will be in Andria in may, as a part of a very interesting cultural festival. So, everything is great.

Interview by Daniel Pratolini
Remmidemmi photographed by Elisa Perotti
The photo titled “# 47__find your rock” has been realized for Diesel