Irene Zottola is a self-taught photographer; in 2016, she began honing her skills in the laboratory of Madrid’s Slow Photo collective. Her poetic works probe at the limits of analogue photography, which she often pairs with text. Working simultaneously as an arts educator, Zottola explores photography as a tool for social intervention amongst vulnerable groups. Her first photobook, Icarus, was published by Ediciones Anómalas in 2021.
In order to escape from the labyrinth in which they had been imprisoned, Daedalus made a pair of wings for himself and his son Icarus. Flying would make them free. In his enthusiasm after taking flight, Icarus got too close to the sun. The heat melted the wax that held the feathers on his back; he ended up falling into the sea and drowning. Over the course of history, a liaison has been forged between human beings and the sky; between the desire to fly and the physical and symbolic meaning it entails. As a result, the notion of flight brings together contrary and complementary elements: the eternal and the ascending as opposed to the perishable and the descending; the hope and the distress in the act of learning to fly; the rising from or plunging to the ground; life and death. Despair and fatigue contrast sharply with the desire to take flight. Birds are symbols of thought, of the imagination and connections with the spirit. Wings and feathers express an elevation to the sublime, signalling liberation and victory. They are worn by heroes. Our desire to fly responds to our need to move from one place to another, although we very often plunge into an abyss, as Icarus did. To become airborne – that’s where the poetry lies.
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