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Interviews  ↓

Art Super Magazine     1.
D'Scene Magazine     2.
Digit! Magazine     3.
Hestetika Magazine     4.
Dazed     5.
FotoRoom     6.
Les Blogs     7.
Vogue Italia     8.
RSI     9.
Ticino Welcome    10.
Blink Magazine    11.
NY Arts Magazine    12.
Twill Magazine    13.
I-D    14.
Swarm Magazine    15.
Carnale Magazine    16.
ArtsLife    17.
Exibart    18.
Collateral.al    19.

... on the web



Art Super Magazine, IT


Roger Weiss was born in Switzerland and began experimenting with photography from an early age. Graduated with Mention of Excellence from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan (Italy). His curiosity for the expressions of humankind open him the path to an artistic approach. He performs as an artist, art director as well as a fashion photographer. Observing the body, its possibilities, its personal victories and its concealed baggages, Roger Weiss analyzed, by a new way to use the photographic medium in which the obsession with cataloguing, repetition, and decomposition build a disturbing and full of details sight of the human body. This interview is a new step in the poetic of the artist through the investigation of the body and its aspects. Through the use of a new media: the video, Roger Weiss try to investigate even more in depth the feelings that the body reveal through his actions and movements during the process of feeding.

Why a topic related to food and eating?
 Man is a being capable of inventing stories, postulates holding up the entire world as we know it. Behind every human being there is an incredible “architecture”, consisting of “bricks” or items such as knowledge, prejudices, experiences, habits, indoctrination, education, and so on. A vessel that, with time, we structure more and more, until becoming the fortress. The food, the act of eating, creates a spontaneous passage that can allow to get around these fortifications and get past the mask.

Actually, eating is a basic practice derived from the instinct of survival. The act itself is the merging point between two dimensions constantly connected with each other: the deepest one – our innermost and mysterious side –  and the external structure well known to all, where sounds, the eyes followed by the mouth, the tongue and the nerve endings translate into the so-called nourishment process. A development that occurs through an unconditional act of confidence that reveals itself in one the greatest human related moments of intimacy: eating. An act of will which allows lowering our defences to favour communication and the transition from what is external and foreign towards the most inner and private part of our body. In other words, this process generates life itself.

How do you think you can connect videos with your poetics always linked to the photographic medium? What kind of differences have you noticed?
Archivi Intimi  brings together private moments through a collection of videos created in my studio during the break between a photo session and the other. I face the video like a photograph in motion, a still image, by adding the element of sound. I have replaced the research of the detail, its my way of capturing images, with a microphone that let me to pick up amplified vibrations produced by the act of eating. Inserting in the image in the end, they create a real timeline.

What is your feelings observing the videos? What differences and what similarities among the subjects?
How much can be natural and spontaneous a person who is asked to eat in front of a camera? I am convinced that no matter the degree of spontaneity but only the repetition of an act; through endless attempts you can arrive at a relevant synthesis  in which there are authentic glimpse. What I try to do is to offer an opportunity to catch them.

What is your relationship with food and what’s your feeling about being observed?
I am very bashful but I like to observe others. I eat thinking that am gonna choose better the next day. I swallow most of the food without consciousness, for example products that I don’t know so well. I guess I can be more aware day by day and with time, create a more profound consciousness.

interview by Annalisa Scandroglio



D'Scene Magazine


Artist ROGER WEISS is one of the few contemporary artists on the scene who successfully manage to use photography as an inspiring art medium, while creating showstopping and original visualizations. Our contributor SAV LIOTTA sits down with Roger to talk about his beginnings, his creative process and the hidden message behind his artworks.

You are a well-established young artist can you tell us how you started your first approaches to the camera?
My approach to camera has been very gradual, initially fascinated by the desire to handle machines for me with mechanical mysteries and experience the dark room, slowly, I realized that staying behind a goal would have allowed me to relate to others more easily. From that moment on, I’ve always had people who helped me by giving me some of themselves that I have carefully taken care of in my work.

What are the first images that have marked your childhood?
I have no memory of a specific image. What echoes in me, from my childhood, is the refusal to attribute an aesthetic sense to a human figure. I was literally extraneous to knowing how to connect the functional part of the individual’s portions of the body to something that came close to the idea of harmonic. Then, over time, I gradually moved away from the detail, in the name of a vision that allowed me to perceive the whole and get used to what today I feel as beautiful.

What was the idea behind your “Human Dilatation” series?
From a perfectly functional requirement The idea has been developed from the I am Flesh series, a total of 35 subjects portrayed systematically, through which you can sweep the body without attributing an artistic value. I was expecting to keep the photographic material assembled for this project and to study it further, and so it was. I crossed those bodies like real two-dimensional maps. What I needed to go further was a sum of accents that would allow

me to approach my way of perceiving the human being. Human Dilatations is the result of these modulations.

What do the dilated shapes of your subjects symbolize?
I do not believe in the concept again as it is seen today, I rather think that there are people who have gone a stretch of road before me and others who will do it afterwards. Sometimes the roads cross and from there, in a dialectical view, can give rise to other paths parallel to those tracks that flock to creating a world to throw away what has just been conceived since it has already transitioned, bodies that become form first and for what they perceive an archetypal sense of the human being.

So, the transformations of your models, the elongated body parts, they transmit the power the strength of the human body, extreme beauty, could one say a new aesthetic sense?
To have a look of the contemporary man stripped of the two elements that distinguish his research: physical perfection and the current power or role, of the mind is what each image represents.



Digit! Magazine, DE


Mithilfe komplexer Shooting- und Postproduktionsprozesse dekonstruiert der Schweizer Roger Weiss den weiblichen Körper und stellt dem medialen Schönheitsideal irritierende Aktkompositionen gegenüber. Von Peter Schuffelen

Es sind verstörende Bilder, die der Schweizer Fotokünstler unter dem Namen „Human Dilatations“ – übersetzbar etwa mit „die Ausweitung des Mensch(lich)en“ – produziert hat. Nackte Frauenkörper mit überlangen Gliedmaßen und gestreckten Torsi, die Proportionen sind buchstäblich „verrückt“, in die Länge gezogen, bisweilen erinnern sie an die Skulpturen des ebenfalls aus der Schweiz stammenden Bildhauers Alberto Giacometti. Die Prints, die Weiss von der Serie fertigt und in kleiner Stückzahl auflegt, sind von großem Format und von atemberaubender Detailtreue – theoretisch ließen sie sich bis auf vier mal zweieinhalb Meter aufblasen. Die visuelle Wirkung der hohen Auflösung von 47.244 x 32.864 Pixeln erfährt man indes nur, wenn man direkt vor den überlebensgroßen Inkjetdrucken steht – weshalb Weiss auf seiner Website Details herausvergrößert hat: Hautfalten, Fingernägel, Augenbrauen, Hautunreinheiten, Abschürfungen, Schwielen, Tattoos, alles gestochen scharf, in makroskopischer Ansicht und dazu gnadenlos ausgeleuchtet. Weiss, von Hause aus Modefotograf, hat zu Beginn des Projekts mit männlichen und weiblichen Models unterschiedlichen Alters experimentiert, sich am Ende aber für junge, attraktive Frauen entschieden – aus konzeptuellen Gründen, wie er im digit! Interview erklärt. Trotzdem: Mit klassischen Nudes, mit erotischer Fotografie gar, hat

„Human Dilatations“ bei aller Nacktheit in etwa so viel zu tun wie ein Hering mit den euphemistischen, in Photoshop zu unwirklicher Perfektion hochgejazzten Werbesujets oder Erotik-Sites.

Der Grund: Weiss meidet die Unvollkommenheit nicht etwa, er zelebriert sie geradezu. Der Absolvent der Mailänder Akademie der Schönen Künste hat sich durch die japanische Kintsugi-Technik inspirieren lassen, eine traditionellen japanischen Methode zur Reparatur von Porzellan, welche die Versehrtheit des Materials absichtsvoll betont, indem sie die Bruchstücke mit einer Kittmasse kunstvoll zusammensetzt, der Gold- oder Platinstaub beigemengt ist. Angelehnt an das ästhetische Leitbild des Wabi Sabi erhebt diese Technik die Unvollkommenheit zum Schönheitsideal. Weiss adaptiert das Prinzip des Fragmentierens und Wiederzusammenfügens zu einem neuen ästhetischen Ganzen fotografisch. Das spiegelt sich nicht nur in den finalen Bildern des Werkzyklus‘ wider, sondern auch im Schaffensprozess. So bestehen die einzelnen Bilder aus 200 oder mehr Einzelmotiven. Weiss lichtet dazu den kompletten Körper von unten nach oben mit Objektiven unterschiedlicher Brennweite ab und rekonstruiert den Körper aus den einzelnen Shots in einem schier uferlosen, bis zu 14 Stunden dauernden Composing-Prozess (siehe Interview), den er auf seiner Website als Zeitraffervideo dokumentiert. Dank dieser Technik ist der Betrachter in der Lage, jede einzelne Körperstelle bis ins letzte Detail zu „erfahren“, alle „Makel“ inklusive. Die ungefilterte Konfrontation mit dem Körperlichen wie auch dessen Verzerrung mögen auf den ersten Blick irritieren, ja vielleicht sogar schockieren. Sie unterstreichen im zweiten Moment aber die Mannigfaltigkeit des menschlichen Körpers. Indem er ihn gezielt verzerrt, hinterfragt Weiss das medial vermittelte uniforme Muster (weiblicher) Attraktivität. Zugleich erklärt er die Imperfektion zum begehrenswerten ästhetischen Prinzip.

„Natürlich ging es mir darum, das klassische, medial vermittelte Schönheitsideal infrage zu stellen“, sagt der Tessiner Fotokünstler.„‚Human Dilatations‘ sucht die Zeichen der Unvollkommenheit und Hinfälligkeit des Körpers, löst sich durch das Spiel der Verzerrungen vom stereotypischen und heuchlerischen Begriff der Schönheit und fördert damit das Bild des Weiblichen als Ganzem. Gleichzeitig war es mir wichtig, deutlich zu machen, dass es um meinen, also um einen männlichen Blick auf den weiblichen Körper geht.“

Aufklärerische “Fleischbeschau”: “I am flesh”

Noch offensichtlicher ist dieser männliche Blick in Weiss‘ Vorgängerprojekt, das den eindeutig zweideutigen Titel „I am flesh“ trägt. Statt mit Verzerrungen arbeitet er hier mit den Mitteln der Standardisierung. Der Zyklus umfasst 35 Aktaufnahmen junger, attraktiver Frauen, die in identischer Weise frontal, stolz und mit maximaler Körperspannung vor der Kamera posieren, die Arme hinter dem Rücken verschränkt.

Die Ganzkörperportraits sind ungeschönt, gnadenlos ausgeleuchtet, zentralperspektivisch fotografiert und von einer unbarmherzigen Auflösung, die mit demokratischem Blick alles gleichermaßen betont: das Gesicht, den Rumpf, Vagina, Brüste, die Haut. Auch wenn der Projektname etwas anderes suggeriert: „I am flesh“ hat ebenso wenig mit erotischer oder gar pornografischer Fotografie zu tun wie „Human Dilatations“. Der erotischen Objektivierung steht gerade diese „objektive“ Blick des Fotografen entgegen. Irritierend sind aber nicht nur das Uniforme, sondern auch wieder die kleinen und größeren „Defekte“, darunter Pickel, Tätowierungen, blaue Flecken, Narben, Brüste mit Implantaten, ein amputierter Unterschenkel oder eine amputierte Brust. Am Ende hat „I am flesh“ etwas zugleich Menschliches wie Androides. „Ich habe die Standardisierung gewählt, um in dieser Serie meine persönliche Sicht möglichst vollständig zu eliminieren“, sagt Weiss. „Was mich vielmehr interessiert hat, war, dass man jedes Detail sieht. Es ging mir darum, eine Art Landkarte des jeweiligen Körpers zu schaffen und zugleich die Würde jeder einzelnen Frau zu bewahren, die durch ihren stolzen Blick zum Ausdruck kommt.“

Als Nächstes plant Weiss ein Projekt, das beide Werkreihen – „Human Dilatations“ und „I am flesh“ in einem dialektischem These-Antithese-Spiel zu einer neuen Synthese treibt. Auf das Ergebnis darf man getrost gespannt sein.

„Die menschliche Suche sichtbar machen.“

Herr Weiss, was uns auffällt: In „Human Dilatations“ sind die Gesichter der Frauen kaum oder gar nicht zu sehen. Warum?
Weil es mir nicht darum ging, das einzelne Individuum zu zeigen, ich wollte vielmehr einen verallgemeinernden Effekt erzielen, einen ästhetischen Effekt, der für alle Frauen gleichermaßen gilt, eine Art Totem, wenn man so will. Außerdem wollte ich auf jene beiden Elemente abheben, die die Suche des zeitgenössischen Menschen bestimmen: das Streben nach körperlicher Perfektion und die dominierende Rolle, die der Verstand spielt.

Sieht man von den Verzerrungen ab, sind alle Models jung und schön. Warum?
Ich wollte, dass man sich auf die ungewohnten Perspektiven und die reine Form konzentriert und nicht auf Merkmale wie etwa eine faltige Haut, die vom Eigentlichen ablenkt.

Woher stammen die Models bei „Human Dilatations“ und „I am flesh“?
Das waren in beiden Fällen Freundinnen von mir, die mitgemacht haben, weil sie an mein Langzeitprojekt glauben. Gerade die frontale Konfrontation mit dem Körper bei „I am flesh“ war nicht einfach für die, die mitgemacht haben – zumal man ja auch das Gesicht sieht. Ich bin sehr froh, dass die Modelle mitgemacht haben – ein echtes Geschenk.

Jedes einzelne Bild von „Human Dilatations“ ist aus 100, 200, manchmal sogar 300 Einzelaufnahmen zusammengefügt. Warum diese große Anzahl?
Es ist vor allem eine Frage der hohen Schärfentiefe, die ich erreichen wollte. Obwohl ich sehr starkes Blitzlicht und kleine Blenden nutze, ist der Schärfentiefenbereich wegen des geringen Aufnahmeabstands ziemlich begrenzt. Angenommen, ich fange mit einer Hand an, dann ist bereits der Arm unscharf, also „scanne“ ich den Körper nach und nach mit der Kamera ab.

Wie müssen wir uns das Shooting vorstellen?
Es gibt, grob gesagt, drei Phasen. Als Erstes nutze ich ein Makro oder ein 50-mm-Objektiv und fotografiere frontal. Wenn ich Verzerrungen einbauen will, fotografiere ich mit einem Weitwinkelobjektiv aus vielen unterschiedlichen anderen Perspektiven. Die Gesichter bzw. Köpfe fotografiere ich hingegen mit einem Tele.

Warum arbeiten Sie mit einer Kleinbild- und nicht mit einer Mittelformatkamera?
Das hat praktische Gründe. Schon bei einer Kleinbildkamera summieren sich die Datenmengen wegen der Vielzahl der Einzelbilder auf 20 Gigabyte. Würde ich mit einer Mittelformatkamera fotografieren, müsste ich mir einen ultrapotenten Spezialrechner bauen lassen, um die Verzerrungen hineinzurechnen.

Was haben die gelben Punkte auf dem Körper der Frauen zu bedeuten?
Das sind Markierungen, die mir beim Composing helfen. Sie zeigen den Punkt, an dem die Schärfentiefe abriss. Ich habe sie auf den Körpern belassen, um diesen Prozess für den Betrachter sichtbar zu machen. Das Composing und die Postproduktion dauern pro Bild 14 Stunden und mehr.

Ist das nicht ein sehr ermüdender Prozess?
Nein, für mich hat das etwas von einem Mantra. So sehe ich, wie die Arbeit nach und nach in all ihren Details wächst, bis ich die gewünschte Form erreicht habe. Es hat etwas von der Arbeit eines Bildhauers.

Neben Ihren freien Projekten arbeiten Sie für Modezeitschriften und Modehäuser, die ja völlig andere ästhetische Paradigmen haben. Wie passt das zusammen?
Ziemlich gut. Die Modefotografie hat mich gezwungen, absolut professionell zu arbeiten – schließlich geht es darum, ein perfektes Produkt abzuliefern – eine gute Schule. In meinen freien Arbeiten bin ich hingegen wirklich frei.




Hestetika Magazine, IT


Che cosa accade quando il corpo femminile si distacca dall’idea di perfezione, liberandosi degli stereotipi di bellezza dei falsi miti imposti dalla società? Attraverso la sua visione, Roger Weiss, ci introduce a una comprensione più profonda del corpo femminile distaccato dai preconcetti che definiscono la bellezza nel mondo di oggi. Il suo sguardo fotografico percorre minuziosamente ogni dettaglio del corpo ritratto, non omettendo nessuna imperfezione, spesse volte celate, ora invece necessarie per rendere il soggetto totalmente umano e unico. Le opere di Roger Weiss ritraggono donne monolitiche, forti e imponenti, ma che portano con sé tutta la morbidezza, leggerezza, carnosità e cedevolezza della loro femminilità.

Perché fotografi?
Fotografare è acquisire, in un tempo relativamente breve, una grande quantità di informazioni relative al mio oggetto di studio: la donna.

 Perché fotografi in questo modo?
Scomporre e ricomporre i miei soggetti, soffermandomi su ogni singolo dettaglio, mi permette di dilatare il tempo della posa, di far crescere l’opera scatto dopo scatto e dedicarmi all’analisi di ogni singolo particolare, altrimenti celato e, apparentemente, non significativo.

Forse non esiste una regola, probabilmente è soggettivo, ma credo che in genere uno si fa un’idea di un’altra persona guardandola nel suo insieme e magari, dopo, in un secondo momento, soffermandosi sui dettagli. Tu parti dallo studio minuzioso di ogni singolo dettaglio, per arrivare poi al suo insieme completo. Perché questo procedimento inverso?
Sono i singoli segni ad animare un quadro. Penso a Campo di grano con volo di corvi di Van Gogh, le cui pennellate sono un’esplosione di una miriade di tracce vibranti, un invito, solo in un secondo momento, e dopo averle distinte nitidamente, ad allontanarci e a socchiudere gli occhi per percepirne, nel suo insieme, l’incredibile energia vitale di cui sono portatrici.

Hai dichiarato più volte di essere una persona contemplativa, hai studiato molti anni chitarra classica e l’hai poi abbandonata perché “non riuscivi a vivere l’attimo”. Per questo le tue pose sono lunghe e dettagliate? In termini di tempo, ricordano le prime esposizioni della dagherrotipia.
Hai bisogno di dilatare il tempo, frammentarlo e poi metterlo insieme per godere del momento?
Non riuscire a stare nell’attimo è per me una mancanza che cerco di colmare attraverso la mia ricerca, senz’altro uno dei motivi per cui mi sono avvicinato alla fotografia e al laborioso processo che impiego per far mia un’opera. É solo durante l’evoluzione lavorativa e, in seguito, di contemplazione, che riesco a focalizzare la giusta attenzione verso il mondo: solo in quel preciso momento il tempo diviene meno ostile e produce in me quell’irrefrenabile desiderio di giungere alla fine di un processo di sintesi che applico ad ogni opera.

La fisiognomica ci insegna che attraverso il viso, lo sguardo di una persona, si riesce a capire il suo vissuto, a meno ché non la si ritragga in pose naturali che raccontano in qualche modo la personalità del soggetto. Le tue figure, se penso a Monoliths, ma anche a I am Flesh, sono tutte incentrate su di un format sempre uguale, impersonale e statico che apparentemente non racconta nulla del soggetto…
Il punto del mio lavoro è privare ogni opera di una propria identità legata alla persona ritratta, in sostegno ad una figura riconducibile a tutte le donne o a nessuna in particolare.

Come rendi possibile questa cura e monumentalità dell’opera? Puoi descriverci in modo pratico il tuo modus operandi? 
Ogni singolo dettaglio del corpo viene acquisito fotograficamente in modo minuzioso attraverso centinaia di scatti che poi vengono riassemblati attraverso la mia visione. Questo modus operandi mi permette di raggiungere due scopi per me essenziali: il primo è quello che ogni opera conservi una moltitudine di informazioni fotografiche, altrimenti impossibili da ottenere; il secondo punto è legato alla possibilità di creare distorsioni e prospettive esasperate grazie all’impiego di differenti ottiche di ripresa e alla relativa scelta delle immagini da assemblare insieme.

Qual è il concetto su cui si basa Human Dilatations?
Human Dilatations è uno sguardo sull’uomo contemporaneo spogliato dei due elementi che contraddistinguono la sua ricerca: perfezione fisica e il potere/ruolo attuale della mente. Ogni immagine rappresenta, di fatto, un corpo distorto nelle proporzioni di alcune sue parti che prevale su di una testa che scema senza lasciare traccia di sé. Nel corpo vedo l’esperienza manifesta di ciò che siamo, senza la quale rimarrebbe solamente il risultato di un processo evolutivo sempre in movimento e lontano dall’immagine primordiale. Il mio percorso è nato con l’approcciarmi all’immagine della donna nel nostro tempo e lo schematismo a cui la sua figura è stata ridotta, un insieme di canoni e modelli a cui far risalire la donna/individuo, invece che il contrario. Human Dilatations non teme i segmenti della cedevolezza del corpo insieme alle sue imperfezioni, ma accompagna l’immagine femminile ad apparire nel suo insieme come una forma altra, in un gioco di distorsioni che permette di rapportarsi all’immagine in modo cangiante, distaccandosi completamente dal gusto stereotipato ed ipocrita del bello.

Quante ore di lavoro ci sono dietro ogni tua opera?
A grandi linee una settimana per ogni immagine.

Ho visto che stai leggendo i diari di Alberto Giacometti, sfogliando alcune pagine ho trovato interi appunti, pubblicazioni, “ricerche sperimentali” e dialoghi con André Breton composti solo da domande, a volte surreali, che lui si poneva e che poneva, e ponevano, al suo lavoro. Anche tu tieni un diario? Anche tu ti poni così tante domande? E quante risposte trovi in grado di darti nuove consapevolezze?
Non regolarmente, ma raccolgo scritti personali da diverso tempo. Porsi domande è implicito nella condizione umana. Ma è per le risposte che ha senso mettersi in gioco.

Rimanendo su Giacometti, anch’esso artista svizzero, prendo a caso un paio delle sue domande e le rigiro a te, curiosa di sapere come risponderesti pensando al tuo lavoro: È adatto alle metamorfosi?
Alla metamorfosi e alla dinamicità. L’opera prende forma come accade in un film, attraverso un susseguirsi di singoli fotogrammi.

Qual è la sua situazione spaziale in rapporto all’individuo?
Lavoro bidimensionalmente su soggetti ai quali conferisco una plasticità scultorea.

Gli artisti hanno sempre bisogno di forti emozioni, di chi e di cosa ti innamori?
Del bello, di ciò che fa scattare il mio desiderio di conoscenza. Il tema del bello ha radici nel nostro essere più profondo ed è determinante nella sfera primordiale di ciò che accende il desiderio: motore trainante per il raggiungimento di tutto quanto comporti fatica.

Sei nato e cresciuto in Svizzera da padre svizzero-tedesco e madre italiana-meridionale. Hai studiato in Italia diplomandoti con lode all’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. Vivendo quotidianamente queste due realtà e abitando in un luogo di confine, ti senti più italiano o svizzero? Perché?
Mi è difficile identificare me stesso con un colore di bandiera. Cerco di stare a un senso civico che mi permetta di coesistere con gli altri senza privare nessuno della propria libertà. La Svizzera rappresenta un insieme di diverse culture e lingue racchiuse in uno spazio relativamente piccolo, al centro dell’Europa, ma senza farne parte. È come avere una casa con più uscite. Mi sento vicino a questo modo di essere.

Sei stato appena invitato in Costa Rica all’università di fotografia della capitale per tenere un seminario sulla tua tecnica fotografica e nello stesso periodo a partecipare ad una esposizione presso Snap! Space in Florida. Cosa ci racconti di queste due esperienza?
In Costa Rica ho vissuto una bellissima esperienza fatta di tanti splendidi particolari, ma ciò che mi è rimasto più a cuore è stato il confronto con gli studenti che mi hanno ricordato quanto sia importante rendere trasparente il proprio percorso per dar luce a nuove realtà; e la bellezza nel relazionarmi a nuovi soggetti da fotografare fuori dal mio studio. Per quanto riguarda Snap! Space ho avuto un feeling immediato con Patrick, il gallerista. Zurighese di nascita e da due decenni negli USA, ha scoperto il mio lavoro un paio di anni fa e, da allora, abbiamo cercato una giusta occasione per presentare una selezione dei miei lavori di grande formato presso una delle sue gallerie a Orlando.

Interview by Valentina De’ Mathà


Inspired by ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, photographer Roger Weiss pieces together hundreds of photograph fragments to break down beauty ideals

After finding himself increasingly disassociating with imagery depicting the female form and viewing anatomy as devoid of all meaning, reduced to a set of codes and combinations as opposed to the curves and flaws that make us human, Swiss photographer Roger Weiss became increasingly frustrated with the lack of humanity throughout imagery that represents what makes us human.

Aiming to expose the lack of meaning in our contemporary visual representations of the female body, his series “Human Dilatations” (which originally appeared on Fotografia) aims to remove this indifference, pushing our physical forms to the extreme through distortion, embracing the so-called ‘imperfections’ that have lead to our exaggerated beauty ideals within modern society. Inspired by Kintsugi, (a Japanese reparation technique that uses gold to fill cracks), Weiss fragments his subjects into multiple images – assembling hundreds of fragments of photographs of the same subject that are taken from different perspectives to ensure every facet of the model is depicted in focus. Below we sit down with the photographer to discuss hypocritical beauty, aesthetic functions and the woman as a modern day totem.

When did you first pick up a camera?
My first camera was a black Nikkormat that my father gave me for a photography class at school. I immediately felt a sense of freedom linked to the object itself and to the idea that through this box I would be able to better understand my own thoughts by putting it down on paper. However, after producing the first prints I was so disappointed that I abandoned it and only resumed using it many years later at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.

How did you get the idea for “Human Dilatations”, and what is the series all about?
Modern life is rooted in a telematics dimension of which the head has become the undisputed symbol, and the body is superfluous unless it is so perfect that it can be put on display to perform an aesthetic function alone. “Human Dilatations” eliminates these two elements to show us a body with parts of exasperated proportions and a head that wanes without trace, to create a rift between the vulnerability of the human and the two pillars that distinguish the contemporary man: physical perfection and the power/role of the mind.

Photography Roger Weiss
What inspires you so much about the female figure?
The comparison with women, my companion piece, originates from the desire to nurture a personal awareness that becomes wider and richer each time, through a dialectic vision. In this process, photography is the medium that more than any other allows me to log details that would otherwise get lost. In the beginning, it was all about storing information that I freely acquired, letting the subject become a hero of himself. Nowadays, through a more structured work, I try to go beyond one’s own identity.

Thereby changing it to a figure that can be ascribed to all women and none in particular. In “Human Dilatations”, I gave substance to my vision of the woman while maintaining a certain level of detachment from the beauty stereotypes of our times. Initially, I drew inspiration from primordial figures like the Venus figurines dating back to the Palaeolithic period and their symbolic meaning, to then initiate a broader and freer journey, which I embarked on in search for my idea of perfection – my contemporary totem.

“Each period has its own standards and I believe that this is necessary to evolution, to define limits that are in turns demolished in order to create new and broader ones” – 

You've previously mentioned the idea of the modern totem- how does the idea of this come into play throughout the series?
My work is based on transformation. I change from the individual to shapes which do not only represent their group but are more the container of our feelings formed by taboos – the most ancient prohibitions – by desire, and by fears as if they are embodied in a totem and its laws. There are two ways of creating: the first is to eliminate the superfluous to free the work of art that is contained in the raw material, the second is to add to the raw material until we reach to the limit that we imposed upon ourselves. Like a sculptor, I have found in the woman the raw material from which I have eliminated what I considered unnecessary to extract my modern totem. The totem forges thoughts and represents the whole around which rituals can be created.  It encloses everything that people can think or desire, it represents the relationships between men and women, thus becoming a taboo. A taboo with its most ancient prohibitions, which remains intact because it may not be touched.

Do you wish for the series to make a wider comment on the way we view the female body as a society?
Everyone is responsible for what they spread. In my case I give form to, and reveal, my images. Everything that this entails is subject to who decides to confront it, and to what extent they do so. My wish is to be able to transmit my signal, among the infinite existing ones, that may provide an additional basis for reflection.

Photography Roger Weiss
Why do you choose to create short films to accompany the series?
One of the challenges I encounter in my work is how to display pieces that should be enjoyed in real life on the internet. They are loaded with information and are designed for large-scale viewing. That is why I have decided to create short videos that enable the viewer to approach the detail and perceive the otherwise hidden nature.

You've said desire is important to your practise, but how does this manifest itself in your imagery?
I believe that I am an aesthete and naturally susceptible to what is currently thought of as beauty. Each period has its own standards and I believe that this is necessary to evolution, to define limits that are in turns demolished in order to create new and broader ones. The question of beauty is is rooted in our deepest self, in our most primeval sphere – in determining what triggers our desire: the driving engine behind the achievement of everything that requires effort. In my mind, the direction for an artist is the one synonymous with dedication to the search for alternatives to the dominant thoughts in our society while remaining loyal to those same existential questions that have accompanied us since the day of reason – who we are, what is the sense of our lives, where are we going.

“The dehumanisation and commodification of women belongs to a specific cultural heritage, which is difficult to eradicate”

How do we move away from sexual objectification of the female form?
The dehumanisation and commodification of women belongs to a specific cultural heritage, which is difficult to eradicate. Though one cannot give up such a position from one day to the next I still believe that, even in their smallness, great things may gradually change. Breaking these cycles that take us rationally back to before the experience took place could be the first step to create new scales of values. Before the image of the woman as an object I have placed my wish to create images that are born from the incompleteness with which men share their lives. I focused on the reinterpretation of the body through the assistance of perspectives and distortions for which we have less experience, and through the obsessive collection of hidden information that is related to the photographic detail of the captured surface. From this process I have created a rift between what we know through our daily stereotype-based experience, and things against which we build defences.

Text Ione Gamble



FotoRoom, IT


Roger Weiss Creates Mind-Blowing Portraits of Dilated Female Bodies

Swiss photographer Roger Weiss shares some background to his incredible Human Dilatations portraits, where the bodies of the photographed women appear dilated and distorted. The effect is reached through a compositing technique inspired by an ancient Japanese art…

Hello Roger, thank you for this interview. What are your main interests as a photographer?
Thank you, it’s my pleasure. At the center of my photographic practice is the female figure: it’s a main source of inspiration for me and shapes my artistic reflections.

Please introduce us to your Human Dilatations series: what is your main intent in creating these images?
I constantly produce figures of women in which I seek my contemporary Totem, an ideal shape, a creation that can contain many elements and distill the essence of things. Human Dilatations originates from this desire. It’s not an art series, but rather the testimony of my daily failures.

How do you think images of distorted female bodies fit the ideas you want to express?
Each image represents a body, some with parts characterized by more or less distorted proportions. The body imposes itself over the head, which is dwarfed to the point of being almost irrelevant. My work is an observation of the modern-day human beings free from two of the things they desire more strongly: physical perfection and the power of the mind. From these premises I approach critically the representation of women in our time and the schema her identity has been reduced to – a set of canons and models that the female individual has to adhere to.

You cite depictions of the female figure dating back to the stone age as a primary inspiration. How exactly did these help you conceive the Human Dilatationsimages?
The ideal representation of women embodied by some primitive artifacts clearly feature symbols that denote the fragility of life and mankind’s constant march towards progress. Human Dilations embraces these aspects and contrasts the “logic civilization” that has led to the loss of the “human civilization”: in the name of a greater order, we forgot about who we are, the least absolute and definitive beings of the planet.

Can you describe the elaborate composition technique you use to create your images, and how long does it typically take to finish one?
My technique is inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer. I recently made a video that shows the construction of one of my Monolith images: I obtained it by assembling 268 fragments of photographs of the same subject taken at different perspectives. It took 14 hours to complete.

For many of your images you create short videos that “delve” into the pictures to show details of the photographed bodies. Why do you think it’s important to focus on these details?
Suppose I’m observing a real body: I could get closer to it to explore it in detail. My vision of the whole would then be replaced by my perception of its particulars, thus triggering a complex analytical process. I intend to make this a possibility in my photographic practice as well, and at the same time I want to initiate a perpetual motion through which I break into fragments, decompose and reassemble what I observe, obsessed by the details that nurture this endless cycle. For me, details show what we would be inclined to hide due to our culture.

How do you reconcile your work as a fashion photographer with your personal projects, which subvert the stereotypes of fashion photography?
In the same way that I reconcile watching a film by Andrej Tarkovskij and one by Quentin Tarantino: they’re both products of our culture that acquire value in different moments of my existence.

Your latest body of work My Beautiful Broken Women also uses images of dilatated female bodies. What is different in this series from Human Dilatations?
The idea for My Beautiful Broken Women came to me while working on my monolith series. I wanted to show those beautiful faces I had concealed in Human Dilatations. Beside the faces, I focused my attention on the silent marks’ of the models’ lives through specific symbols: a scratch, a puppet snake, a compass, a pin, etc.

How do you hope viewers react to your work?
I hope to arouse their curiosity for new point of views over pre-determined answers.

What have been the main influences on your photography?

Who are some of your favorite contemporary photographers?
The Bechers and the Düsseldorf School photographers, Karl Blossfeldt, Wolfgang Tillmans and many others.

Choose your #threewordsforphotography.
Women. Monolith. Space.



Les Blogs, CH


rubrique des arts plastiques et de la littérature en Suisse


Qu’est-ce qui vous fait lever le matin ?
Le désir de retrouver mon atelier.

Que sont devenus vos rêves d’enfant ?
Je suis encore entrain de les affronter.

A quoi avez-vous renoncé ?
A tout ce qui n’est pas en état de m’accompagner dans ma direction.

D’où venez-vous ?
Je suis originaire de Horn, Canton de Thurgovie.

Quelle est la première image qui a frappé votre émotion ?
Le visage d’une femme.

A qui n’avez-vous jamais osé écrire ?
A celles et ceux que je savais qu’ils ne répondraient pas.

Que représente pour vous la femme ?
Dans la femme je cherche mon totem contemporain, ma forme parfaite, la création capable de contenir le Tout et de distiller l’essence des choses.

Qu’est-ce qui vous distingue des autres artistes ?
J’ai de la difficulté à identifier et à l’identifier avec les étiquettes, simplement je me situe dans une direction qui est mon parcours et je souhaite que d’autres personnes puissent s’insérer dans mon chemin.

Où et comment travaillez-vous ?
Dans mon atelier toujours à l’écoute de mes questions.

Quel livre aimez-vous relire ?
« De Rerum Natura » (de Lucrèce).

Quand vous vous regardez dans un miroir qui voyez-vous ?
Un homme en mouvement.

De quels artistes vous sentez-vous le plus proche ? 
Valentina De’ Mathà et Josef Weiss.

Que voudriez-vous recevoir pour votre anniversaire ?
Passer un an loin de ma réalité.

Que défendez-vous ?
L’idée que pour une conception plus haute il est possible de toujours nous remettre en jeu.

Que pensez-vous de la phrase de Lacan « L’amour c’est donner quelque chose qu’on n’a pas à quelqu’un qui n’en veut pas » ?
L’amour est une invention de l’homme sur laquelle il est plaisant de jouer.

Et de celle de Woody Allen « La réponse est oui mais quelle était la question » ?
Que la question était juste évidemment.

Quelle question ai-je oublié de vous poser ?
Voudriez-vous me faire un portrait pour  « Human Dilatation » ?

Entretien réalisé et traduit de l’italien par Jean-Paul Gavard-Perret le 23 juillet 2015.

Interview by J-Paul Gavard-Perret



Vogue Italia, IT


The body feels, it has its own language, which is not the limited verbal one, but the far richer one of the senses and feelings. You can come close to a body, look at it, touch it and smell it but the body cannot be read: like art, it belongs to the silent realm of moods and emotions.

It is perhaps the impossibility of “reading” the body, alongside its being at the core of mechanisms related to urges and desires, that has fascinated the humankind since the dawn of time, so much so that it has been chosen as favourite subject of investigation in paintings and cave engravings.

Reproduced, studied and dismembered, the body is the starting point of pictorial writing, of art: from Cèzanne to Picasso to the breaking of the human figure of Cubist artists like De Chirico, Matisse and Bacon down to the more recent Lucian Freud and Jenny Saville, many are the artists that devoted their search to the primordial image.

It is in this field that we should place the investigation initiated by Roger Weiss, a Swiss artist who graduated with the highest grade from the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan. I was familiar with Weiss’ work titled “I am Flesh” in which the artist’s obsession with cataloguing, repetition and breaking down is undoubtedly present but, in my opinion, it is with “Human Dilatations” that Roger Weiss makes real progress into his expressive maturity. In this work, alongside the previously explored themes, new ones come into play and, in particular, through the deformation and distortions a notable signature style and aesthetic search emerges, even though this may yet not be totally conscious.

Here is below my interview with Roger Weiss:

What is the inspiration and thinking behind Human Dilatations?
In Human Dilatations, I gave substance to my vision of the woman while maintaining a certain level of detachment from the beauty stereotypes of our times. Initially, I drew inspiration from primordial figures like the Venus figurines dating back to the Palaeolithic period and their symbolic meaning, to then initiate a broader and freer journey, which I embarked on in search for my idea of perfection – my contemporary totem. Human Dilatations is born out of subjects that are fragmented and later reassembled. In a fashion similar to the Kintsugi Japanese technique (meaning: golden repair), I work on fragments and photograms that I assemble and harmonize into large format works in which the body, in contrast with its vanishing head, becomes the absolute protagonist. In the precisely studied positions of the subjects I use for my works, the position of the head is always only hinted at, which deprives each work of the identity of the portrayed subject, thereby changing it to a figure that can be ascribed to all women and none in particular.

How did it happen that you chose photography as a means of expression?
Photography is still something I feel conflicted. Times and times again I tried to fall in love with it without ever accepting the feeling of living it as an extension of myself. It is rather a tool that allows me to maintain a sufficient level of detachment from what goes on around me and to investigate further, beyond my limits. I recall three distinct moments that led me to start expressing myself using such medium. I received my first Nikon from my father during my childhood; this unveiled a pleasure for the object in itself rather than the use I could have made of it. The desire to embrace it came later through an image linked to my teenage years and that has not left me since. One night I woke up from my bed and stopped to observe the lying body of a woman: my first instinct was to portray her in her natural beauty, but I resisted it as I would have woken her up. Since then I embraced photography as a means to approach and capture fragments of the lives of all those people that accompanied me through my journey by offering me a part of them/theirs. That period opened me up to a reality that would have left an indelible mark on my following works, starting from I am Flesh. Since then I learned about and shared fragments of existences marked by suffering I had no experience of. Physical violence, sexual and psychological abuse suffered and endured by those same young women that I deemed carefree and that had, instead, learned to fight pain through their desire to react and overcome it.

You often talk of beauty standards dictated by society…I wholly agree but don’t you think that there is something in beauty, in the harmony of shapes and lines, which we are drawn to in a way that is utterly instinctive?
I believe that I am an aesthete and naturally susceptible to what is currently thought of as beauty. Each period has its own standards and I believe that this is necessary to evolution, to define limits that are in turns demolished in order to create new and broader ones. The question of beauty is rooted in our deepest self and it is decisive, in our most primeval sphere, in determining what triggers our desire: the driving engine behind the achievement of everything that requires effort. In my mind, the direction for an artist is the one synonymous with dedication to the search for alternatives to the dominant thoughts in our society while remaining loyal to those same existential questions that have accompanied us since the day of reason – who we are, what is the sense of our lives, where are we going …

I also seem to see an aesthetical evolution between I am Flesh and Human Dilatations. What do you think?
The goals behind I am Flesh and Human Dilatations embrace different journeys. In the first, I wanted to focus the attention on the female physiognomy leading to mapping that can be traced literally inch by inch. They are large format works in which I invite the viewer to visually explore 35 bodies rich in minute details, thereby offering them an almost tactile experience. Young women who, having accepted the challenge of a close-up view of their body, openly bare it to the viewer and, alongside it, offer a contemplation of their life and personal experiences. This is the reason why I opted for a format that entailed a frontal position with the arms behind the head and not in front, which would have symbolized closure and blocking. Every single detail of the body was “acquired” in a photographic manner to then be reassembled, piece by piece, by reinterpreting the original proportions of the owners whilst trying to leave out any potential traces of my own artistic contribution. As most of my investigation, each work is made up of hundreds of photograms assembled together. This method of working serves two goals that are fundamental to me: the first is about ensuring that each work preserves a wealth of photographic information that would be otherwise impossible to obtain; the second is linked to the possibility of creating distortion and heightened perspectives by using a variety of shooting angles and through the way I chose to assemble the photograms. Such distortions were then used to create Human Dilatations – an observation on the contemporary man minus two elements that characterize his quest: physical perfection and the power/role of the mind. Each image represents, as a matter of fact, a body with distorted proportions in some of its parts and that dominates over the head, which wanes without leaving traces behind. Unlike I am Flesh, in Human Dilatations I let my vision take form and guide the creation of this project that I’m still developing and that is, first and foremost, about a way of seeing.

Do you think that the body is in some way the primordial image? Do you think that the body/experience can be represented?
In the body I see the tangible experience of who we are, without which we would only be the mere product of an always moving evolutionary process far from the primordial image. In order to turn it into a physical archetype, I look for a starting point in it, for something primordial towards which my work is constantly moving, moulding the figure until it reveals its essence.

Photography / Focus On / Roger Weiss
MAY 4, 2015 2:30 PM







Ticino Welcome Magazine, CH


Chi è Roger Weiss?
«Sono nato in Svizzera, il mio approccio alla macchina fotografica è stato immediato ed è avvenuto in giovane età. Mi sono laureato con lode all’Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera. La mia curiosità verso l’essere umano mi ha portato ad approcciarmi ad esso sia artisticamente che come fashion photographer. Ho all’attivo esposizioni e pubblicazioni internazionali».

Quando e come hai deciso di avventurarti nel mondo della fotografia?
«Mi sono legato indissolubilmente alla fotografia durante il primo anno di Accademia, quando mi sono reso conto che avrei potuto usare il mezzo fotografico come una maschera da cui partire per prendere forza e nascondere la mia idea del limite».

Puoi parlarci del tuo lavoro nel corso degli anni?
«I am Flesh è il progetto che mi ha permesso più di altri di esplorare la nostra frammentazione sociale e la mancanza di ritualità, un atto che permette all’uomo di mantenere il giusto equilibrio con il mondo circostante, mantenendo una propria identità. L’iniziazione di un fanciullo all’età adulta di alcune civiltà, conferisce all’atto un valore che segna per sempre la persona al rispetto e alla responsabilità delle proprie azioni. Oggi non c’è più questo elemento fondamentale perché una civiltà mantenga sana la propria posizione. Mangiare carne significa saper uccidere l’animale che si mangia. Senza questo processo, decade ogni altro valore. Le responsabilità e la conoscenza sono volutamente frammentate, settorializzate. Creando così una più facile manipolazione sull’individuo. Non ci sentiamo responsabili di nulla, pur essendolo, poiché ci è permesso di non vedere oltre al nostro atto/frammento. In linea con questo pensiero ho iniziato da poco un nuovo progetto che vi presenterò in anteprima».

Raccontami del progetto Human Dilatations, il progetto sul quale stai lavorando.
«Sì, è ancora in lavorazione e tocca un argomento al quale sono molto sensibile. L’immagine della donna nel nostro tempo e lo schematismo a cui la sua figura è stata ridotta, un insieme di canoni e modelli a cui far risalire la donna/individuo, invece che il contrario.

Human Dilatations non teme i segmenti della cedevolezza del corpo insieme alle sue imperfezioni, ma accompagna l’immagine femminile ad apparire nel suo insieme come una forma altra, in un gioco di distorsioni che permette di rapportarsi all’immagine in modo cangiante, distaccandosi completamente dal gusto stereotipato ed ipocrita del bello. La serie comprenderà diverse opere fotografiche di grande formato che sto definendo con lo studio berneassociati.eu per la stampa ed un vero e proprio gioiello: un libro edito da josefweissedizioni.ch, un unicum stampato ancora a mano su carta pregiata e composto con caratteri mobili. All’interno saranno presenti 3 opere della serie Human Dilatations che accompagneranno il testo del Cantico dei Cantici di Salomone».

Come sei arrivato a questa idea?
«Il mio percorso è nato con l’approcciare all’idea dell’Essere femminile come ad una dimensione che vada oltre al Logos, all’intelligibile, e farlo attraverso la mia visione, quella di un uomo.

Per far ciò non potevo che partire dal Neolitico, il simbolismo della Dea ed il mistero della nascita, morte e rigenerazione. Una ciclicità che è stata rappresentata da tutto un sistema simbolico sopravvissuto per millenni. Prima ancora delle religioni patriarcali.

Ho creato un feeling immediato con la sintesi che ho trovato nelle statuette in osso, pietra o terracotta dell’età della pietra. Sono essenza pura, dense di quelle fragilità della vita e alla continua ricerca dell’uomo di avanzare, che ancora oggi ci rappresentano. Non è cambiato molto nella natura dell’uomo se non, oggi, nella mancanza di quella ritualità che probabilmente conferiva al ciclo della vita una propria dignità».

Che ruolo ha l’uomo nel tuo lavoro?
«L’uomo, nel senso di essere umano, è l’ossessione del mio indagare. Prima del nostro conosciuto c’era altro. Prima del patriarcato e del matriarcato, delle ideologie e delle istituzioni, c’era un equilibrio sociale in una continuità matrilineare pronta ad abbracciare l’idea del tutto e della ciclicità della vita. Paradossalmente, oggi, in nome di una forma di “civiltà logica” abbiamo perso la nostra “civiltà umana” che, per amore di un ordine maggiore, di un valore assoluto e definitivo, ci siamo dimenticati l’uomo, che è paradosso dei paradossi l’essere meno assoluto e definitivo del creato, è l’esemplare più “particolare” (nel senso di “è una parte, mai una sintesi ideale”) e “contingente” e in “divenire” che ci sia al mondo».

Che cosa chiedi ai tuoi soggetti di fronte alla macchina fotografica?
«Il mio soggetto/modella sa che, al di là del risultato, ciò che mi interessa è l’incontro in sé, esattamente quando, in pochi istanti, si deve decidere come e quanto di se mettere in gioco. Il resto viene senza forzature».

Hai lavorato sia con la fotografia che con il video, come ti adatti creativamente tra i due mezzi?
«Uso il video come fosse una macchina fotografica, dilatando nel tempo un’immagine costante ed uso la fotografia per cogliere l’attimo, come per un cacciatore con la sua preda. «Si scatta, si spara, si spera di catturare la preda. Il predatore-cacciatore dorme per riposare e sogna per ripassare il proprio saper cacciare. Fotografare è sognare di cacciare, sparare alle prede per poi catturarle davvero il giorno dopo, alla luce del sole. Roger Weiss è come il cacciatore che dipingeva nella camera oscura della caverna la cacciagione affinché la caverna la partorisse là fuori, dove poi lui gli avrebbe dato la caccia alla luce del giorno. Canale del parto, caverna platonica, camera oscura, parete rocciosa, pellicola, supporto digitale… Resta un cacciatore il fotografo, uno strumento di caccia la fotografia; ars goetia, una teurgia il fotografare» (Maurizio Medaglia)».

Come affronti un nuovo progetto quando hai un’idea?
«Ciò che mi circonda diventa un campo di sperimentazione che è alimentato dal desiderio di mettermi in gioco. Sono sempre aperto a mettermi in discussione, cercando di trovare il coraggio di non guardarmi indietro e capire qual è il modo che mi permette di sentirmi in crescita».

Qual è il tuo statement artistico?
«Le società creano e distruggono modelli nell’interesse di pochi. È responsabilità di ognuno di noi cercare e trovare alternative».

Quali sono i tuoi progetti per il futuro?
Lavorare sul concetto di Totem.

Penso allo scultore, quando toglie il superfluo per liberare l’opera/feto contenuta nella materia inanimata, per dargli vita in un vespaio sempre in movimento nel quale viviamo e percepiamo come ci hanno imposto di vedere. Non si sa nulla di ciò che ci circonda ed in questo continuo moto, come lo scultore vede la propria opera prima che nasca, io vedo il feticcio dal quale voglio togliere il superfluo per cercare il mio totem contemporaneo.

Un potente mezzo che porta all’essenza ultima del tutto: paura, soggezione, attrazione (Eros -> vedo VS Thanatos -> non posso toccare), vita, morte, etc.

Il totem crea pensieri e non movimento e rappresenta la totalità intorno alla quale si possono creare riti, racchiudere tutto ciò che le persone possono pensare, desiderare… divenendo così tabù, ed il tabù non si può toccare.



Blink Magazine, Korea

Hello Roger. Who are you and what do you do for a living?
I was born in Switzerland and in early age I began experimenting with photography.

I graduated with the highest grade from Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan, Italy. My curiosity for the human shape Ieads me to an artistic approach. As up to today, I carry on as an artistic as well as a fashion photographer. I always have thought that photography is a precise lifestyle. A commitment that bears the mark of abnegation, the first condition to approach the sublime. “Photography for a higher awareness of myself, of my human being”.

When and how did you decide to venture into photography?
l’ve been bound to photography since my first year of the Academy of Fine Arts, when I became aware that I could use it as a mask from which to gain strength and hide my idea of limits.

Can you talk a bit about some of your work over the years?
I explore our social fragmentation, where each one of us thinks to look out for himself, with no regard for our context. I look for shards of the drama of the human condition to document through photographic fragmentation, that they relate to setbacks and aspirations, weaknesses and strengths, pain and joy. Of rights archieved and rights trodden down.

Tell me about the ‘I am Flesh’ project. How did the idea for the series come about?
Seeing is a pure, primordial, non-Judgmental act; thinking, interpreting and evaluating are subsequent processes arising out of the habit and need of ordering all imagery in our own representation of the world. ‘I am Flesh’ is based precisely on this lack of immediate assessment: by expanding its scope. it creates an experience comparable to that of Iiterary haiku, where – in the absence of lexlcal virtuosity – one has the possibility of following a path through reality.

Who are those people in photographs?
In ‘I am Flesh’ it is bodies who make up reality: 35 naked female bodies metioulously filmed and photcgraphed in their primeval condition to lock as real as possible- and surprisingly so. No distraction is allowed on front of these bodies: in their presence, any feeling of attractionc repugnance, bewilderment, excitement or banal initial curiosity fades away as one gets physically closer to the work, to its outspoken essentiality. These naked bodies act as a stimulus to search new insights in Ioneliness and are like invitations to a confrontation with one’s own self. They reject all pretexts and lies: there is nothing to prove, the evidence is crystal-clear. They are timeless, yet create a space which wrong-foots us. They express the ultimate courage to lay bare and offer onesell without mediaticns – which we almost always lack. We are somehow forced to incarnate in their flesh. And without us being aware of the process, they become maps – and we do the same in a transitive spirit of daring. ‘I am Flesh’ is, above all, a project on identity.

Why did you name the project as ‘I am FIesh’?
‘I am Flesh’ the flesh that exposes itself. calls for others’ perception and the inner self, usually held back as opaque and inaccessible, and becomes open and displayed on the skin so revealing the inner self. These works, rub up against us, create the friction that is typical of the human encounter and call everybody to live a relationship in which reciprocal differences are a pre-condition for understanding.

How was the process of preparing and shoothg for the project?
Friends and models have joined the project as well as all those who simply adhered by seeing the project itself growing. I asked all of them to gift me a moment in which they would have totally released themselves from their life pattern. Only at that moment I would have pictured them in their female being. This extrsordinary resemblance to the truth is achieved by means of a special technique: each image is composed of 47.244 X 32.864 pixels per inch, equivalent to 400 X 278 cm printable area at 300 dpi, while – in order to obtain better perception – the works will be executed as 230 x 160 cm on Diasec and displayed all together.

Tel me how the idea tor ‘Be Two’ project came about
The ‘Be Two’ is a project on ID through couples Iacking will and pulsions proper of nature’s human soul. By eliminating drives and muscular contraotions, in that very photographic juncture instant I obtained a negative of the instinclual couple and of those reasons why a couple has a right to exist. This negative allowed me to trace a map, an ideal outline in which I can pick elements bonded to the unoonscious and not typical of every human being, elements that crop up afterwards in the images.

What types of people inspire you to take their photogaph?
The encounter with people of passim belongs to that moment in which our sensory receptors are amplified. Photographically speaking I act during this time, when you get closer to each other in dilated pupils. “The pleasure in seeing is spring which feeds summer of a deeper understanding: the possibility TO BE together with the others”.

What do you ask your subjects in front of your camera?
I disguise myselt completely in the pictures machine from where I take the strength from, and I hide my idea of limit in a realty pictured together, in a lonely instant and without mediation. My subject/Models know that Is the meeting in itself that Interests me, exactly when, in a few instants, you have to decide how and how much of yourself you will, and are able to give.

You’ve worked both photography and video, how do you adapt creatively between the two?
I use the video as if it was a camera, expanding in time steady images and I use photography going after a moment that nearly always escapes, like a hunter and his prey. Photography has got to do with hunting. You click, you shoot and you hope you’ve captured your prey. The predator-hunter sleeps to rest and dreams to recounter on his ability to hunt. Photographing is dreaming of hunting, shooting at preys in order to really seize them the day after. At the sunlight the photographer is like the hunter who used to paint in the caves (darkroom) the preys so that the cave could give birth to those preys in the open air where then he would have hunted for them in the daylight. Channel of birth, platonic cave, darkroom, rocky wall, film, digital support… I remain a hunter, photography a mean of hunt; ars goetia, a theurgy the photographing (Maurizio Medaglia).

What equipment do you use?
I use Nikon for photography. Canon for video and Hasselblad for the medium-format.

How do approach a new project when you get an idea?
What surrounds me becomes a field of experimentation which is fed by my desire to get personally involved. I am always questioning myself. Trying to find the courage not to lock back and understand what is the way that allows me to grow.

What is your art theory?
Society creates and destroys models in the interest of a few. Its everyone’s responsibility to find or create alternatives.

What’s next lor you? Any future plans?
Find out new territories to explore and tell about.



NY Arts magazine, NY


“The flesh that exposes itself, calls for others’ perception and the inner self, usually held back as opaque and inaccessible, becomes open and displayed on the skin revealing a self.”

Our society creates and destroys models in the interest of a few. It is everyone’s responsibility to find or create alternatives.

I am inspired when I encounter passionate people who possess the ability to belong to the moment in which our sensory receptors are amplified. Photographically speaking, this is the moment when I act: when pupils dilate and I can get closer to my subject.

In “I Am Flesh,” I look for shards of the drama of the human condition to document through videos and photos; they relate setbacks and aspirations, weaknesses and strengths, pain and joy, rights achieved, and rights trodden down.

The flesh that exposes itself, calls for others’ perception and the inner self, usually held back as opaque and inaccessible, becomes open and displayed on the skin revealing a self. These works rub up against us, creating the friction that is typical of the human encounter.

Every body calls us to live a relationship in which reciprocal differences are preconditions for understanding. In “I Am Flesh,” bodies constitute reality: 35 naked bodies are filmed and photographed in their primeval condition to look as real as possible.

I have chosen women, and not bodies or organisms. Bodies in photography are bodies seen—in cinema, also heard— but they are certainly not bodies that can be touched. In short, they are bodies that keep their distance.

Seen as inert. Dead. From a phenomenological point of view, there is the distinction between Körper (“body”) and Leib (“belly”). The first term signifies the objective body, to be seen in terms of anatomy and of physiology (and also of pornography).

The second term signifies the body as lived in and experienced in real life. If the human condition were merely to “live,” it could be summed up in the working of the body’s organs.

Accordingly, we would see pictures of bodies “looking good” and “functioning well,” or, alternatively, emaciated and sickly bodies. But, as the human condition entails “existence,” the body takes on a psychological tonality.

Thus, the personality makes its presence known in the world; everyone communicates, interacts with, and relates to his or her fellows. “I Am Flesh“ is Leib—a piece that seeks to show the body’s feeling, immersing us in the body as it is seen.



Twill magazine, FR 


In I am Flesh bodies make up reality: 35 naked female bodies meticulously photographed in their primeval condition to look as real as possibile – and surprisingly so.

This extraordinary resemblance to the truth is achieved by means of a special technique whereby each image is composed of 47,244 x 32,864 pixels per inch, equivalent to 400 X 278 cm printable area at 300 dpi, while,for reasons of better perception, the final prints will be executed as 230 x 160 cm True Giclée Fine Art Prints, protected under plexiglass and displayed all together.

Human bodies have long been photographed and described. Many have been seen and read about. And every community, through its institutions and leaders, has always espoused certain body-types and shunned others. Showing off the desirable ones, and hiding the undesirable. All those who might be perceived as excessive or upsetting. Roger Weiss, donning the role of a visual ethnographer, involves himself in every body-type of contemporary society. Almost adopting a “naturalistic” approach, he isn’t scared to get his hands dirty. To breathe somebody else’s breath. Accepting that our own images are never fully under control. Rather, he allows them a certain margin, opening up ever-changing and unlooked for perceptions. And with project 35, he invites us to continually switch between the general and the particular, setting in motion a systematic alternation between interior and exterior. He undermines the comforting idea of an established aesthetic of anatomy and takes us on a journey of the body that turns its revelations of intimacy into an exercise of democracy.

The essence of human rights, a key element for any society to call itself democratic, is that the autonomy of the individual rests on the inviolability of the human body. The body, that in past ages was in the hands of God and the ruler. In war, sent to the slaughterhouse by the generals. In the fields and in the factories, abused and deceived by the cheating bosses. Today, instead, our bodies belong to us. Admittedly, even under democracy, politics retain some control over our bodies. Always ready to regulate, to forbid and to issue permits. And yet, political control struggles with bodies reluctant to hand over control of their own fate. There are plenty of scenarios for control – and plenty of dilemmas – from procreation to living wills.

One of these scenarios relates to the expressive materialization of the self in the appearance of the body, in the visible identity of the individual. This is the drift of Roger Weiss’ argument.

As phenomenology shows, if the self exists in the world via the body, it can be experienced in two different ways: objectively and a subjectively. Bodies that by their functioning test the limits of their own reality. Shards of the drama of the human condition. In daily life, the body is the self, the dwelling place of my feelings, where I move, the frame for my perspectives. And I can even adopt a perspective of examining my own body. But there are innumerable social occasions where a separation exists between the self and the body. Medical discourse, for example, with its ability to turn a person into a patient. Or, at its most extreme, into a corpse. On which one can operate without any resistance. But even then, the self remains, as it were, trapped. Because not only do I have a body, I am a body.

And, today, living as we do in a body-crazed society, individuals are always being called on to “work on” or “look after” their bodies. And if individuals know what they can do – within certain limits – with their own bodies, the problem remains what to do with this freedom, because the body expresses an established rapport with the surrounding world. Thus becoming an existential option. A topical theme for contemporary democracies.

Roger Weiss’ photographs are life forms that speak by means of the body and not about the body. They relate setbacks and aspirations, weaknesses and strengths, pain and joy. Of rights achieved and rights trodden down. The flesh that exposes itself, calls for others’ perception. Obliging these perceptions to pause on its appearance. A place where the self and the world intermingle and relegate the realm of ideas to second place in order to deal with the realm of the visible. The inner self, usually held back as opaque and inaccessible, becomes open and displayed on the skin. So, it’s not about somebody else’s body that conceals a self. Rather, it’s about bodies that reveal a self. And, being able to follow every fold, it is possible to feel emotions that become stories. Moments that become history. The photographer, just as he enlarges faces, expands the feelings experienced. In other words, he enables us to “reach within”, putting people in touch with themselves and others.

And thus, these oversize photographs rub up against us, creating the friction that is typical of the human encounter. Every body, though forming and representing defined individuality, is turned outside itself, and is set in a relationship. Not an absorbing empathy but rather an invitation to live a relationship of differences. In which reciprocal differences are a pre-condition for understanding. That is project 35; that is what democracy should be about!

Artworks / Roger Weiss @roger.weis

Text / Adriano Zamperini
Translation / Bob Lowe and Marco Sonzogni




I corpi distorti ed emancipati negli scatti di Roger Weiss per la collezione Amina Muaddi x Wolford

Busti dilatati e arti vertiginosi come critica alla rappresentazione del corpo femminile. Abbiamo parlato col fotografo che ha saputo traslare in immagini l'estetica visionaria della designer metà giordana e metà rumena.

Quando un brand di legwear e bodywear d’impatto come Wolford si unisce alla concezione progettuale di una designer visionaria come Amina Muaddi, bè, allora c’è bisogno di assoldare un* fotograf* che sappia traslare questa capsule in immaginari altrettanto potenti, una figura capace di celebrare, enfatizzare ed emancipare il corpo che immortala.

Così nasce questo trio collaborativo, che unisce progettualità, estetica e fotografia in un clash tra linee distorte, verticalità da capogiro e corpi consapevoli dello spazio che occupano, liberi nella mobilità concessa dalla capsule Amina Muaddi x Wolford. Questo il concept per una collezione che ingloba l’immaginario di entrambi i brand e che si inserisce con coerenza all’interno dell’universo creativo di Roger Weiss, fotografo svizzero che da sempre si concentra sul corpo, la sua rappresentazione e le possibili attuazioni estetiche che può (e, secondo lui, deve) avere nella contemporaneità.

Intrigate da questi scatti visionari, da queste figure totemiche senza tempo e dalla filosofia che sostanzia la pratica di Weiss, abbiamo deciso di intervistarlo in occasione di questa già leggendaria collaborazione per la campagna Amina Muaddi x Wolford.

Ciao Roger! Come sei entrato nel mondo della fotografia?
La fotografia è una realtà che mi accompagna da sempre, grazie a mio padre, ma che ho iniziato a praticare con consapevolezza a partire dagli 11 anni. Ciò che non è mai cambiato è la mia incapacità di viverla come un’estensione, è piuttosto uno strumento che mi permette di mantenere un certo distacco da ciò che mi circonda, consentendomi di indagare oltre i miei limiti sia sul piano artistico che professionale.

Guidaci attraverso il tuo processo creativo.
Creare significa sapere cosa togliere e quando fermarsi, oppure aggiungere materia, fino al punto in cui l’opera è in grado di stare in piedi da sola. Per la realizzazione dei miei totem mi sono ispirato alla tecnica giapponese del kintsugi e così, durante le mie lunghe sessioni di posa, frammento il soggetto ritratto in infinite singole immagini fotografiche. Dopo aver analizzato questi frammenti, ne seleziono alcune centinaia, per ricomporli. Qui inizio un lungo processo di ricostruzione, che mi permette di mettere in luce punti reconditi del corpo e dargli, in una sorta di democrazia delle parti, una visibilità reinterpretata.

Il mondo é come un vespaio, sempre in agitazione, impenetrabile e staccato da ciò che lo circonda. In questo continuo moto, ho visto nel corpo umano la materia da cui toglierei il superfluo per estrarre il mio Totem contemporaneo. Il totem crea pensieri e rappresenta la totalità intorno alla quale si possono creare dei riti. Racchiude tutto ciò che le persone possono pensare e desiderare, rappresenta i rapporti degli uomini divenendo così tabù, che rimane inviolato poiché non si può toccare.

Come lavori con i tuoi soggetti?
L’intento non è quello di esaltare la bellezza di chi posa e neppure quella di raccontare un avvenimento. Chi accetta di posare per me sa che prenderà parte a un’esperienza diversa. Invito persone che richiamano in un modo o nell’altro la mia attenzione e chiedo loro di percorrere un breve tratto di strada insieme a me. Se a loro interessa, ho già le idee piuttosto chiare su ciò che voglio ottenere—si tratta di un processo per il quale non posso fare molte prove. Anche se non c’è un vero e proprio modus operandi, spesso utilizzo dei taccuini nei quali eseguo dei disegni preliminari che, durante lo shooting, utilizzo come guida per le mie opere finali.

Per dare vita a queste opere lavoro molto sull’estensione verticale delle figure e su una raccolta di informazioni molto dettagliate. Le distorsioni prospettiche ottenute prendono vita in forma naturale a partire dalle diverse ottiche che utilizzo durante gli scatti, dai diversi punti di vista scelti e, infine, da come decido di assemblare la selezione di immagini che scelgo di utilizzare.

Descrivi la tua fotografia in tre parole.

Con Human Dilatations esplori i concetti di perfezione fisica e il potere della mente. Com’è nata l’idea del progetto e dove ti ha portato questa ricerca?
Non c’è mai stata un’idea prestabilita, le mie primissime immagini scattate in pellicola avevano già il principio di ciò che creo oggi. Mi sento di dire che ciò che faccio ha una forte connessione con il mio modo di percepire la realtà e l’archetipo umano. L’ambiente dell’uomo moderno è spinto verso un approccio alla vita fatto di interconnessioni sempre più astratte che ci inducono a vivere le realtà attraverso filtri via via più sofisticati e tali da formare meccanismi vincolanti, senza che ce ne si renda realmente conto.

In questo processo, dove ogni cosa passa attraverso la “rete”, la testa è un simbolo incontrastato ed il corpo un “di più” non necessario se non perfetto, messo in mostra senza una funzione specifica se non quella estetica. Human Dilatations inverte questi due elementi per mostrarci un corpo, una fisicità esasperata nelle proporzioni di alcune sue parti fisiche, e una testa che scema senza lasciare traccia di sé per creare una spaccatura tra la vulnerabilità umana e i due pilastri che ne contraddistinguono l’uomo contemporaneo: perfezione fisica e potere/ruolo della mente.

La fotografia può sovvertire i preconcetti e le tradizioni legate alla rappresentazione del corpo femminile?
La sfida per me è quella di mettere in gioco la percezione del corpo femminile che ho acquisito nel corso degli anni e di tentare di annullare un particolare bagaglio di condizionamenti radicati nella nostra cultura, alleggerendomi di quei canoni estetici che individuano nella donna una deumanizzazione e mercificazione—specifiche di un retaggio culturale sempre più difficile da sradicare.

Così, ho voluto cercare un percorso che andasse ad individuare un’identità antropica contemporanea attraverso fattezze rivisitate di soggetti considerati canonicamente “belli” e traghettati in una veste né bella, né brutta, privati della propria identità e della loro capacità di suscitare impulsi erotici. Forme altre. Verticalizzazioni costruite sull’assenza di quelle proporzioni alle quali siamo tanto affezionati, in un modo di vedere diverso e mai distruttivo. Spezzando i meccanismi che ci guidano nella lettura mi auguro che potremo accostarci ad esse con la freschezza necessaria a permettere un senso di meraviglia.

Com’è stato lavorare al progetto Amina Muaddi x Wolford?
Lavorare insieme ad Amina Muaddi per Wolford è stato rimanere fedele a me stesso, un valore aggiunto, un arricchimento per la mia ricerca artistica, con sintonia e affinità. I tessuti di Wolford hanno saputo valorizzare le linee e le autenticità della donna e le scarpe di Amina, piedistalli ancorati al terreno, si sono estesi in altezza unendo i due piani dai quali ho elaborato le mie architetture femminili. La parte più emozionante è stata lo shooting, quando ognuno è riuscito a dare il massimo, in un concerto volto alla realizzazione delle opere attraverso cui ho cercato di esplorare la femminilità contemporanea.

Il tuo processo è molto clinico, ma i concetti che tocchi sono profondi, intimi e personali. Come gestisci questo scarto?
Sono affascinato dal concetto legato agli haiku. Regole ferree, restrizioni precise attraverso le quali esprimere profonde e vaste rappresentazioni mentali. L'idea di confine, entro cui poter elaborare un concetto, é una realtà che trovo necessaria per poter ampliare i limiti, abbattendo quelli precedenti e creandone di nuovi in un processo ciclico di frattura e costruzione. Aver creato dei format in cui muovermi mi dà un’incredibile e celata libertà e un’energia che mi motiva a continuare a cercare il mio Totem contemporaneo, la mia forma perfetta, una creazione capace di contenere il tutto e distillare l’essenza delle cose.

Quali sono le tue ispirazioni? E dove le trovi?
Ho adibito un’intera parete bianca, sia in studio che a casa, per poter accogliere il mio sguardo. Mi siedo sulla mia poltrona, metto Le Gibet di Ravel rigorosamente eseguito da Vlado Perlemuter e rimango a fissare la parete bianca sino a quando non inizio a visualizzare qualcosa che rincorro e lascio andare in un gioco di armonie e disarmonie. Mi sono regalato diversi spazi in cui restare, per un po’ di tempo, in silenzio ad ascoltare.

Quali artist* e correnti hanno formato il tuo modo di intendere la fotografia?
Ci sono opere che trascendono il concetto stesso di arte e verso le quali ci si imbatte sempre con un’apertura diversa. Fra i più noti Sam Francis, Michael Heizer, Tarkovskij, Giacometti, Bernhard & Hilla Becher, Louise Bourgeois, Nan Goldin, Rothko, Fischli & Weiss (piccola curiosità; Fischli è il cognome di mia nonna paterna e Weiss di mio nonno paterno).

L’idea di espansione e dilatazione mi fa pensare alle esperienze extracorporee. È qualcosa che ti interessa?
Ho scelto di lavorare sulla donna perché ad oggi non ho trovato nulla che mi colpisse di più rispetto a una creatura capace di essere letteralmente attraversata dalla vita. Da ciò che viene prima della nascita a ciò che viene dopo. I miei sono tentativi di creare figure verticalizzanti capaci di collegare il cielo alla terra, spezzando la linea dell’orizzonte come un tempo facevano i Menhir.

Tra fotograf* che dovremmo conoscere.
Valentina De'Mathà, Jon Baker e Cyril Hatt.

Ci sono altri progetti a cui stai lavorando?
Sono circa due anni che lavoro a Genealogy of a Body, un progetto in cui ho messo insieme tutte le mie conoscenze acquisite fino ad oggi. Si tratta di uno spaccato sull’uomo che ipoteticamente ci spetterà di conoscere nel nostro futuro. Il mio sogno sarebbe iniziare una collaborazione con una galleria capace di valorizzare e accompagnare al meglio questo mio nuovo progetto.

Artworks / Roger Weiss @roger.weis
Interviewer / Carolina Dacalli




Human Dilatations

Swiss photographer Roger Weiss manipulates our stereotypical perception of bodily beauty via unusual angles and digital distortion to create sculptural, clay-like figures with accentuated and distorted extremities that invite us to untangle and sort them out in our mind. With all redundancy and personality removed, Weiss sees the flesh revert to its ancient raw symbolism.

THE CONCEPT AS DESCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR / Human Dilatations is a glimpse of the lack of the contemporary human being, barred from the two elements that distinguish their quest: physical perfection and the actual power/role of the mind. Each image represents a body with partially distorted proportions that overshadow the head, which dissolves without a trace. My path began with the image of women of our times – it has been reduced to a pattern, a combination of codes and models that leads to the woman/individual instead of the other way around.

Human Dilatations do not fear the signs of frailness of the body and its imperfections but rather encourage the female image to appear as a whole: a shape by itself in a game of distortions that allows one to relate to the image differently, entirely detached from the stereotypical and hypocritical notion of beauty.

My challenge is to seek the essence of the female being in a dimension that goes beyond logos. In order to do so, I started with the Neolithic Period as a reference point. The symbolism of the Goddess and the mystery around life, death and regeneration. A cycle represented by a large complex of symbols, which survived over millennia and were present even before patriarchal religions. When analyzing the small statues (made of bone, stone or terracotta) dating back to the Stone Age, I immediately perceive their pure essence and fragility.

The Human Dilatations project is a series, which is still in progress and consists of: Human Dilatations, Suspension, Monolith and The Hug.


What role does physicality/corporealness play in your work?
The body represents the material evidence of the flow of time, attenuated by a robust resistance that today’s man activates in relation to the subconscious belief of his own immortality. This is encouraged by the environment in which he evolves, which pushes towards an approach to life made up of increasingly abstract interconnections and which prompts us to experience reality through progressively more sophisticated filters. Such as forming binding mechanisms without one really realising it. In this process where everything passes through the “net”, the head is an undisputed symbol and the body, unless perfect, an unnecessary “addition” put on display without any specific function other than aesthetic. Human Dilatations inverts these two elements (poles) to show us a body exaggerated in the proportions of some of its physical parts, and a head that fades away to create a split between human vulnerability and the two pillars that distinguish the contemporary man: physical perfection and the power/role of the mind.

Can you offer any guidance on how to approach your artworks?
The world is like a hornet’s nest, always in a state of turmoil, impenetrable and detached from its surroundings. In this continuous motion, like a sculptor, I saw in the human body the raw material from which to remove the superfluous to extract my contemporary totem. An entity capable of generating thoughts and representing the totality around which one can create rituals. It contains all that people can think and desire, it represents the relationships of men, thus becoming taboo; and the taboo, with its oldest of bans, remains inviolate because it cannot be touched. For the realisation of my totems, I was inspired by the Japanese kintsugi technique and so, during my long posing sessions, I fragmented the portrayed subject into endless single photographic images. After analysing these fragments, I select a few hundred to then reassemble them. At this point, I begin a long process of reconstruction, which allows me to highlight concealed points of the body and give them, as if it were a democracy of parts, a reinterpreted visibility forced into human architecture.

Since the article is featured under the HEAVENLY BODIES theme, how important do you think is the perception of the body for contemporary society and art  – or for you personally?
The body is also a boundary placed between our interior and private, and our exterior and public. Two originally separate dimensions that perceptively reveal themselves thanks to a common language that allows them to make contact with each other. A subsequent desire to link an immaterial feeling to a physical manifestation that translates into everything that can be perceived through our senses creeps in and takes the form of communication. This increasingly sought-after communication between the two aspects progresses from civilisation to civilisation. It carries both behavioural and aesthetic codes that characterise its temporal and cultural positioning, and towards which one takes a critical attitude in order to overcome old restrictions and allow new ones to be erected in an endless cycle of destruction and reconstruction.

The challenge I set for myself took shape in the idea of doing away with the perception of the female body I have acquired over the years whilst attempting to nullify a specific legacy of deep-rooted cultural conditioning. I wished to relieve myself of those aesthetic canons accepted in our time, which manifest in dehumanisation and commodification of women specific to a cultural heritage that is increasingly difficult to eradicate, without, however, walking into to the trap of responding with an antithesis of beauty (aesthetics of the ugly) – a dualism that would oversimplify my vision of the human being. Rather, I searched for an intermediate path, which would identify a contemporary anthropic identity through revisited features of subjects considered canonically “beautiful” and transported under the guise of neither beautiful nor ugly, deprived of their own identity and of the ability to arouse erotic impulses, in an idea closer to the whole or nobody in particular.

Other shapes. Verticalisations built on the absence of those proportions we are so fond of, in a different way of seeing. From this process, I called for a rupture between what we know through daily experience of acquired stereotypes, and that against which we have instead erected a defence. By breaking the mechanisms that make us give up on reading about the things we think we already know, I hope that we will be able to give each other the opportunity to approach those things again with the freshness required to allow for the return of a sense of marvel. There are always alternative forms of thought. And on one of these paths that run alongside motorways is where I project myself.

Are you working on any other projects that might interest our readers?
For almost two years now, I have been working on an artistic project to which I am very attached but at the moment, I am still keeping it under wraps as I am considering various proposals that will allow me to release it.

BIO / Swiss Roger Weiss @roger.weiss began experimenting with photography early on and life led him to the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Italy, from which he graduated with the Mention of Excellence. He now works as an artist. The prominent focus of his work is the curiosity about all things corporeal and the humankind in general. In his deconstruction/reconstruction approach, he observes the body with all its alleged flaws, baggage, possibilities, volume, and fragility. His use of the photographic medium is that of an archivist who collects and catalogues repetitive details, which he then rearranges in a way that challenges our detached view of the body and conventional beauty.


Artworks / Roger Weiss @roger.weis
Interview / Markéta Kosinová

There’s an episode directed by Carlo Lizzani, in the anthology film Thrilling (1965), where the
protagonist – played by Alberto Sordi – exits the Autostrada del Sole to take a country road. There, he finds one of those pensions/guesthouses that had given drivers a place to recoup before Italy’s economic boom, but had seen their revenues, and their future, vanish once the motorway opened. It turns out to be a murder mystery with a tinge of Mediterranean and Boccaccio, but also an example of detours and new life perspectives that open us up to unexpected glimpses, such as those that follow.

I was reminded of this episode as I talked with photographer Roger Weiss, listening to him making an ardent case for the importance of knowing how to change perspectives in life. An almost spiritual, rather than artistic manifesto, inspiring his work.

“Once there is a motorway, people don’t drive along other little roads,” says Weiss. He mentions this as he reflects on the dangers of homologation that social media can lead to, not only for artists. However, we might have to start from social media – where the broken-up and recomposed bodies immortalized by Weiss have managed to stand out – to retrace his journey and better understand the deepest meaning of his work, looking past the two-dimensional and hectic nature of the medium.

Today, Weiss says, in a context of “globalization and widespread risk of cultural leveling, when people start in one direction they need to be able to define their own perimeters, which they then break down in order to build new ones.” Instead, creativity can encounter major obstacles when having to act without self-awareness or self-criticism, within criteria that often have been defined “using algorithms that do not represent what they were built for.” The same can be said of hinging one’s art on bodies, bared yet certainly not bare, in times when “we have a heightened awareness of the power of aesthetics,” even at a very young age. “It’s hard to generalize, but we struggle to develop different visions,” the photographer comments.

Weiss speaks with the prophetic awareness of the artist as homo virtus, a figure with a thirst for knowledge and moral lucidity that seems out of place in this day and age – when art appears enslaved to digital communication, and new “artists” are proclaimed with the same frenetic ease of a simple like. After all, the philosophy at the heart of Roger’s work has a strong spiritual component, more shamanic in nature than tied to a particular religion. It emerges in the vision of his subjects as primordial and totemic figures, “antennas pointing to the sky, elements that can lead us back to a dimension of life that is less artificial or tied to the toys we surround ourselves with.” His research appears clear in the decision to cancel the limits of depth of field in favor of the vertical element, turning him into an architect of bodies.

Hence Weiss’s awareness that he cannot consider himself as just a photographer, but rather as a person destined to move through the beauties of the planet for a limited period of time. “By deconstructing and reconstructing figures, I carry out a continuous, perhaps illusory, search for the moment in which we are at one with everything, as if it were a ritual, or a mantra that is fulfilled within the four or five days in which I work full-time at a piece.”

Thus, his subject-monoliths represent the moment in which the artist manages to feel part of a whole, on an axis between the earthly and the otherworldly dimensions, a bridge between the past and the future of human civilization. “Descartes spoke of the pineal gland, as the intersection between the spiritual dimension and everyday life. I like to think of my works as something similar,” Roger admits.

Indeed, Weiss’s modus operandi is far from the method traditionally associated with photographers. His post-production process turns out to be, upon closer inspection, a truly creative phase. A complex journey in which the artist becomes the demiurge of a new image with what we may call a (neo) Cubist attitude. Although the final result does not convey the aesthetic features of that movement, it brings it back to life through a process that entails breaking apart sequences of photographs into hundreds of frames, which are then put back together to create subjects in a renewed perspective. A process that, despite the works being often viewed in digital form, requires cutting and reassembling the photos in Moleskine notebooks, as the photographer’s analogic studying grounds.

“I break apart people while they are posing, disassemble them piece by piece; I internalize them, make them my own, and in a week I reassemble them. There is a lot of me in the final result, and very little of the person I portrayed.”

Weiss, once again, gives a spiritual interpretation of this final synthesis. “Just like you cannot see what is before or after life, in my work these phases are canceled by the final outcome.”

This psychological process explains the photographer’s attraction towards the female body. On the one hand there is the mystery of the opposite sex and the curiosity to explore it, while on the other there are women and their wombs as a symbolic, ancestral passageway between what is before and what is after life.

The choice of turning faces upwards expresses the will to avoid confronting subjects through their faces, allowing for greater creative freedom. Viewers do not benefit from a face-to-face encounter with the subject, but their gaze is inevitably led upwards – also through the choice of printing on a scale larger than the actual size of the models portrayed. Weiss, however, is keen to clarify that his work is not meant to deform bodies, but to play with natural perspectives through the use of multiple lenses. A dynamic he likens more to the architectural momentum of Gothic cathedrals than to photography, which Weiss confesses he does not love particularly.

“Compared to other forms of art, there are few [photographers] who impress me – such as some exponents of the Düsseldorf School. When I was very young, photography was functional because it allowed me to keep a certain distance, while still exploring a subject and witnessing a moment. It was like a therapy session.” One might wonder to what extent the naked bodies Weiss portrays are flesh, and to what extent they are fleshly. The human body is not explored in a voyeuristic way as much as studied from a distance, filtered using the lens, with an approach that stems from the psyche of the artist when he was a boy.

“When I was little, I struggled with not being able to understand what made the human body beautiful. I saw noses, hands, ears, and all the other parts of the body in terms of their practical function, but I could not grasp their aesthetic value,” the photographer shares.

Hence his fascination with anatomical details, sectioned and mapped, and his approach to the human body where “every erotic element falls away”.

The subject’s nudity is thus functional to minimize the human tension that forms between model and photographer. Weiss explains he feels vested with the responsibility deriving from a body being entrusted to his lens – a burden he felt even more before starting his professional career, when friends or amateur models were the ones undressing in front of his camera. The act also revealed physical – and sometimes psychological – scars. This is why, to this day, Weiss claims that photography as a form of personal research, outside of the world of fashion and professional models, allows for the most interesting friction between photographer and subject to emerge.

This research led him to shy away from alternative models, which are so on trend today. “I’ve been asked why I so often use good-looking girls. If I photographed disfigured or elderly bodies, it would undoubtedly be easier to attract attention [to my work], I would have more disturbing elements to use. I am interested in totems devoid of obvious signs: otherwise I’d see nothing but these signs in my mapping.” His words sound curious on the phone, as he speaks from a beach on the last day of holiday before returning home, in a town in Switzerland. Weiss’s geographical situation reflects his human condition: a caustic and shy detachment that seems to transpire from the memories of his debut in photography, and of the role – almost more functional than artistic – this discipline has taken on for him.

He often ends up emphasizing the importance of balance, in life as well as in art, in the search for in medium veritas.

Photography as a form of independent research must be able to fit in with the photography that lends itself to fashion and editorial work. “I tend to hide my work in fashion, because I’m mostly interested in showing my artistic side,” Roger explains, with the wisdom of someone who’s aware it would be childish, and useless, to refuse at all costs the state of the industry and the norms of contemporaneity. “I believe exploring Instagram is essential today. Brands select artists and creatives through social media, which are incredible, extremely powerful channels. I find that experimenting commercially can increase your work’s fame exponentially. However, it’s still important to find balance, as indeed in all directions of life. It takes dosis.” Thus, being able to integrate pragmatic styling with the totemic and timeless sacredness of a naked body is also a matter of balance.

A challenge that is intensified by the times we live in, when – according to Weiss – “the idea of experiencing the aesthetic dimension cerebrally, rather than physically, is much stronger than in the past.” With all the contradictions of digital platforms, of course: the first to offer tools that instantly alter our faces and, at the same time, the media that continue to censor bodies in their most natural and ancestral form, when they are naked.

Considering the frenzy of digital life, we might naturally wonder whether Weiss’s works, shared on social media, are not likely to generate the opposite of the effect he intended and to perpetuate the pursuit of idealized aesthetic canons.

“I hope curious viewers will carry out their own process of body decoding. Rodin was a model for me in this sense, because in his work we find a fracture between how the skeletal structure works and what the audience sees. The muscles at rest are contracted, and vice versa the flexed parts are left soft. As a consequence, a careful look allows viewers to distance themselves from their previous cultural experience, and to reinterpret the works without using what they already knew.”

Before hanging up, Roger insists on sharing something he deeply cares about. His wish to leave a mark through his works, like ancient civilizations did with totems, temples and cathedrals.

“Now, as years go by, I would like to gradually move away from chaos. I would like to consider myself a bit like The Man Who Planted Trees that Jean Giono wrote about.”

Who knows what future generations will see in Roger Weiss’s carnal totems. Our wish is that they survive, like monoliths, to the frenzy of our times, and remain as the fruit of questions, studies and inspiration to decipher the mystery of our bodies and, therefore, of our existence.

Artworks / Roger Weiss @roger.weis
Interviewer / Lorenzo Ottone