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DUAL photography
M. Morante (born in 1990). Is a visual artist and photographer.
Based in Milan.
dualphotography0@gmail.com



Marla Elena Morante, doesn’t like to talk about herself. She won’t tell you where or when she was born. She lives and works in Milan, Italy, that much we know. There’s a trace of a S… Read More
DUAL photography
M. Morante (born in 1990). Is a visual artist and photographer.
Based in Milan.
dualphotography0@gmail.com



Marla Elena Morante, doesn’t like to talk about herself. She won’t tell you where or when she was born. She lives and works in Milan, Italy, that much we know. There’s a trace of a Spanish accent in her spoken Italian.As for her age, she can transform from a fresh-faced teen to a world-weary poet to an ageless vampire from one day to the next.
Marla is never who she appears to be. Yet she is always and ineluctably herself. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say herselves.

From one Marla, many Marlas.

For a while she appeared to be Marla Doll1c***o, an inventedsurname that roughly translates to ‘I’m not a fucking doll’. This early Marla was an aspiring young photographer who combined bold experimentation with informed citations of the masters of her chosen art. The most striking feature of her work during this period, apart from a precocious mastery of technique, an exceptional sense of composition and a thorough knowledge of the history of photography, was its extraordinary range of mood – empathy and apathy, decadence and hope, romance and terror, nostalgia and anger, beauty and squalor – often within a single image, and always disconcertingly profound for such a young artist.

When this transitory Marla, rebellious yet still respectful, figured out that the canonical themes and techniques were useful points of departure but otherwise restrictive, she shapeshifted into another Marla, surname Btterkeit (German for ‘bitterness’, and yes, the misspelling is deliberate).
This Marla had the confidence to begin creating her own canon, opening up the many personal Pandora’s boxes that her previous avatar had only dared to observe from the outside.
This Marla understood that photography is not about taking pictures, but about extrapolating fragments of the world that spark a response in her, and then examining that response to learn more about herself.
This Marla scoured the resulting photographs, as if they’d been taken by someone else, for possible clues as to who she was when she shot them, who she is as she prints them, who she would be when they were finally seen by fellow humans, each of them isolated, like her, trying to navigate their own multiple selves. Here, the dichotomies of Marla Dolluncazzo evolved into a richly detailed cosmology, where love and death, tenderness and cruelty, beauty and horror begin to become indistinguishable.

Enter Luz de Aurora, portraitist. While the previous Marlas had experimented with portraits of others, Luz de Aurora made portraits of other Marlas. A third Marla, taking a further, paradoxical step outside herself in order to portray herselves.
But these selves proved elusive. They showed Luz their elegant hands and impossibly long fingers, they revealed to her their naked breasts and throat, but preferred to turn their faces away from the lens, to crop them from the image’s edge, to cover them with veils or masks or deep shadow. As such, any clues as to the identity of the subject(s) must be explored in the formal and emotional qualities of the photographs themselves. Which, again, are best described in terms of polar extremes – light and dark, fragility and frigidity, warmth and hostility, seduction and obstruction, revelation and concealment. Dualities, dichotomies, dialectical oppositions. Portraying herself by hiding from the viewer, which somehow, contrary to all logic, becomes intensely intimate.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Dual Photography is the name that the artist is currently using, and none could be more fitting. She has asked all the questions she needs to ask about fixed identity. She has stopped counting them and naming them, and has chosen instead to embrace them all, to allow them to coexist as a single Marla. She is now free to transition seamlessly from one genre to another, to manipulate images with overlays, scratching, combinations of analog and digital effects. Her work is more varied than ever before, yet also more coherent. After years of investigating her multiple selves, she has understood that they are all just facets of the same complex, contradictory soul, responding to the constant flux of her own internal machinery and its rich, confusing and sometimes heartbreaking interaction with the external world.

And so her artistic evolution comes full circle, an inversion of our earlier statement.

From many Marlas, one Marla.

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  • Photographer
    MD Arte Gallery — Milan, Italy
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