Skinny dipping: Gigi Cifali immerses us in images of empty pools
Born in Naples, the topographically-trained photographer Gigi Cifali is now based in London. His latest work, entitled Absence of Water, chronicles the period 2006–2014 via UK baths, lidos and pools. The work, a rumination of where we spend our time, brings moments of optimism and happiness to mind but still offers that solemnness of nothingness and ‘nowhereness’ so poignant of our times.
'They were places in vogue, fundamental for the life til the thirties of 20th Century [sic],' explains Cifali in his artist statement. 'Gradually, living conditions and tastes have changed, resulting in a drop of attendances, leaving the public pools uneconomical to run. Symbols of civic and architectural pride in Victorian times, today only a handful of them remain as a representation of bygone era.'
And so the series gives the viewer a moment to reflect on water – what it means in daily life, what it gives us as a society and its inexplicable function of wealth. The artist says: 'Water determines the wealth, it is indispensable to live and its lack inexorably leads to ruin, exactly as what happened to these pools'.
'These architectures, through their charm, show us the time irreversible action, the ruin, the sense of emptiness that surrounds and fills them,' Cifali continues. 'Yet they are testimony and memory of a not too far age, when they were places full of voices and laughter and the beating heart of life'.