Focusing on the architecture of various funerary monuments, the Cemeteries series by Ettore Moni reaches beyond the goal of capturing individual preferences and examples of stylistic trends of a particular historical period. The imposing mausoleums may represent the final resting place or the eternal ‘home’, but they also signify a much deeper human need.
As a documentary photographer, Moni chronicles the relationship between man and landscape and the ways humans inhabit spaces. In this series, that relationship takes on a new meaning. At the center of the images lies man’s intrinsic need to assert, even post-mortem, a privileged place in society. Thus, the monuments don’t merely honor the life of the individual, but signify a social and economic status, illustrated via exaggerated proportions and intricate details.
Traces of the religious principle of humility can’t be found here, but at the other end of the spectrum. In humble and simple tombstones. The imposing structures shout their message loudly, even though the meaning might not be as easy to decipher. Is it a need to mark the importance of one’s existence? To claim a place in the memories of the living? To establish a status of superiority which, somehow, aims to conquer death? And, after all, do these memorials serve the dead or the living? Ultimately, Ettore Moni brings these questions to the fore. The photographs encourage the viewers to ponder on an answer and maybe even to reflect on their own mortality.
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