Black and white photos with fishes in an aquarium. Photo part of the photo project - Fish Water Berlusconi


"Fish Water Berlusconi" is a photographic project about Italy and how historically, in this country, it is hard to make changes in the cultural and especially in the political field. "Everything needs to change, so everything can stay the same" explains Il Gattopardo, a novel that takes place during Italy’s unification. Among others, this specific attitude has allowed Silvio Berlusconi to be a protagonist of the political scene for more than 24 consecutive years. Italy is a place where time passes but nothing really changes. From this idea starts the parallelism with the sea and the water.

In January 2018 I received the news that Silvio Berlusconi was running again for the general elections in Italy, I thought it would have been interesting to combine some images from his political history with fish’s photographs taken previously.

All the images of Berlusconi are screenshots taken from YouTube videos and they all belong to Italian public television. They depict some of the most important moments of Berlusconi’s political career, as well as moments from Italian political history.

The sequencing of the fish photographs has been created intuitively but with an element of symbolism. For example, in all of the photographs the fish swim from left to right, reminiscent Berlusconi moving on in his political path; his politics is decisively right-wing. The first photograph is paired with an image of Berlusconi during his first speech, the reason why I decided to do that is to relate the

Movement of the fish going up with Berlusconi’s political ascent. Moreover, the phrase that he used to enter politics is translated in Italian with “scendere in campo” that, word for word, identifies a movement from the top down, therefore creating a figurative oxymoron between the two images.

Some of the images depict the attack against the Prime Minister in 2009 by Massimo Tartaglia, a 42 years old man mentally ill that in December hit him in the face with an alabaster statuette of Milan (Berlusconi’s hometown) Cathedral. The incident obviously shocked the population and the image of Silvio Berlusconi as a bleeding victim went around the news for long time. Therefore the obvious connection with the shark’s photographs, famous for being drawn to blood.

The last image of Berlusconi is the most recent one, a screenshot taken during one of this year speech on public television in order to promote again, after 24 years, his party Forza Italia. As completing a full circle, his image artificially modified by plastic surgery, trying to hide time that passed, smiles at the idea of being re-elected.

Italy is well known for being a country where things change with difficulty and the presence of Silvio Berlusconi in the last Italian government is the proof. For this reason the parallelism between Italy and the sea is quite fitting. The sea is always the same, even if the fish keep swimming and the water changes. Although despite the immobilism, under the surface things are still moving, going up and down, left and right.