Giovanni Ambrosio biography and statement


Photographer and visual artist. Born in Naples, Italy, in 1978, I live in Paris and Naples.

My visual literacy has been shaped by paintings in churches, by Oliviero Toscani and Benetton’s campaigns in public spaces, by commercial broadcasters’ culture during eighties and ninenties. My favorite poets are copywriters. I am definitely rooted in literature and words, but equally shaped by research – initiated at University of Naples Orientale and carried on in Paris X – on the relationship between fine arts and Belgian underground cinema linked to surrealism. 

I was first initiated into photography from a perspective marked by documentary narrative, under Sergio De Benedetti’s  school. Later I studied at the Photography and Contemporary Art department of Paris VIII University in Paris,  establishing then my works at the crossroads of several media. 

Resorting  to photography as a tool to investigate social phenomena, I have been involved in Mucem Marseille Football & Identities research program (2015-2017). With writer Sébastien Louis I run Ultras Youth, a research work focusing on Ultras football supporters, mainly in Arabic-speaking countries in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring protests. Long term collaborator of stage directors, I am engaged in a performative and documentary practice of stage photography, working on and off stage. In 2013 I took part to Altofragile, device run by experimental theatre group Teatringestazione. In 2013 an 2014 I have been a member of Osservatorio Critico of Altofest, a research space and jury of the festival of performing arts runing in Naples.

From 2013 onward, with dramaturg Loretta Mesiti, we have been organising a joint working table on which we display our personal collections of visual and written matters. We analyse elements emerging from the praxis through the lens offered by theoretical approach. This process was born within Altofest , was formalised with the project (e)labOratorio (Bodman, Germany 2015) – and takes currently the shape of the Table of Matters within the project ALTEReurope. Additionally, I am in dialogue with research group hosted by the journal K. Revue trans-européenne de philosophie et arts.

Exploring printmaking, I have been a resident at Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium in 2021 and student, in 2022. On the other hand I am engaged in a digital book making process. Eventually, I run a digital publishing house called Arroz con Pollo. Bits con Papel and a dreamy digital art gallery,  Arroz con pollo II. 


My body of works is based on photography, minimalist painting, gesture, papers, printmaking, (screenprinting, rizography, etching), objects, writing, found writing footage, video, walking, performance writing, digital composition, field recording and music. Photography can step in to gather all those elements into sedimented mixed media. Photography is cheaper than neon and can always be fully reshaped.  

I intend my whole works as a score and I proceed on a constant accumulation, an often endless collecting of materials that I could constantly use and reuse, rearrange, embody and reincarnate. That leads me to mainly work on site specific installations. Curatorial practice is part of my process: I rewrite my archive, invite other artists to process my topics,  write curatorial projects.

My aim is to work out of joints,  outside the limits of my own discipline and consequently to exceed in the boundaries of other disciplines. The shift from one genre to another is a salient aspect of my photographic practice: a series of still lives may have a documentary intention. A same topic can be explored in different series in different genres.

My works can be arranged according to categories whose titles are in Latin or in Ancient Greek. The polysemy of classical languages illustrates the conceptual stratification that I wish to give to my research. Thus, grapho, the category including painting-based works, means writing as well as scratching, but also engraving. In English the adjective graphic indicates the presence of explicit details in visual representation. 

I print images, paint and write on different kind of papers but also on fabrics and raw materials. Unframed papers allow me to display works  in a wider range of places (such as tables, exterior walls, floors)  and in undefined positions (papers and stacks of papers can constantly be moved also by viewers).

I work in educational and academic environment, conceiving and running workshops, pedagogical projects, masterclasses. 

Main themes issuing from my works: erasing, archive, archaeology, ability/disability of images to describe and to tell, migration of shapes and materials, journals writing, relationship between art and society, attempts to tell about complexe living zones.

My commissioned works and collaborative projects with other artists can also, and sometimes simultaneously, lead me to work as art director, photographer, writer and graphic designer. 

My works are  in the collections of Mucem in Marseille, Mufoco in Milan, in the Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium, in the Ecole Alain Ducasse Paris Campus.