Pictures of the Year: The Photographers’ Choice January 5th, 2010

Brett Rogers, Director, The Photographers’ Gallery: “Surely one of the most noteworthy discoveries of 2009 was the work of the Italian born (b1969) London-based artist Maurizio Anzeri who showed his beautiful but deeply disturbing stitched portraits at The Photographers’ Gallery at the same time as exhibiting his sculptures and objects at nearby Q-space in Soho. Using found photographs produced by high street photographers from the mid 20th century, Anzeri weaves his own newly constructed narratives onto these ‘canvases’ to explore ideas around persona.

Sometimes they look frighteningly surreal and transform an anondyne subject into a dark cipher other times the glorious colouring and benign embroidery elevate his subjects well beyond the realms of portraiture. One moment you imagine that the subject was a standard studio portrait but the minute Anzeri gets to work with his needle (yes, he does all the stitching himself), the image is transformed into a new object with its own enigmatic persona. It is no wonder he emerged from sculpture – leaving the Slade in 2005 having studied Sculpture both there and at Camberwell.

What direction his work takes next is anyone’s guess – in the meantime, I hear many people are delivering sackfuls of redundant momochrome studio photos to his door to have them transformed.