Dance For No Reason

Gaia Squarci

2013 - Ongoing

“How can you be so cynical? Look at your parents, they’re the proof that it’s possible. No?”  I remember an ex-boyfriend telling me. 

I look like my mother and, to a large extent, I act like my father. Projecting myself into the future I’ve been looking at them to see myself, to deconstruct time, and, mostly, to try and understand love.

Chiara and Andrea met by chance in an airport and saw each other again six months later. They have wedding rings they never wore. They never thought they would have kids. The way they touch, gaze, make fun of each other, looks like young love. They lead a perfectly bourgeois life, but at home, around the dinner table or watching TV in the master bedroom, a theater of surreal, absurd and hilarious interactions gains the upper hand. Family life reminds me that normality is a word for people I don’t know. Then there are those moments, like that time when I was 26 and I saw them dancing in the kitchen after dinner, on a regular day and for no reason.

As a child I grew up flooded by their unusual energy, then left, to live abroad.  Each time I came back I could see their relationship unaltered, yet their glow a touch fainter. A fear sharpened by the death of my grandmother pushed me to photograph for years, chaotically, whatever I couldn’t afford to forget, helplessly trying to snatch pieces of life from the flow of time.

A few months ago I started to give an order to this pile of photos, meditating on how the experience of love passes down from one generation to the next, leaving traces in the way I live my physicality, humor, desires, in my capability to take care of others, in my inadequacy to live up to an example that sets the bar high.

Yesterday I found my mother outside of her bedroom bustling about with cardboard boxes, naked. She was warm, she said. Dad recently retired, and she reluctantly slowed down her job to follow him in his decision to move away from Milan, Italy, to a small coastal town. They’re leaving the city and the home I grew up in. They’ll walk down the beach in the morning instead of reving to work on a scooter. Their life will be slower. I wonder what it will mean.

I’m starting to photograph objects, letters resurfacing from the past, and us, moving in a space that will no longer be. This work will be part of a book and installation about the relationship between my parents, the way it influenced my own idea of love, and my fear of loss. 

Navigating this moment of change there’s a sentence I’ve been trying to keep in mind. In 1951 Jean Cocteau was asked in an interview what he would have taken with him if his house was on fire. He replied: “I believe I would take the fire”. 

{{ readMoreButton }}