Between People and architecture: Vittoria Zupicich's vision of architecture as usable art

Vittoria Zupicich

Vittoria Zupicich

Passion for photography and art is something that can develop during somebody’s life in a totally unexpected way. Or it can be the result of a very special moment. This is the case for Vittoria Zupicich, an Italian photographer born in Umbria, now living in San Francisco. While her story may sound familiar to many others where inspiration comes from a parent during childhood, Vittoria’s love for photography became a choice for life only later on, when she had to make a decision about her future.
What took you close to art and photography?
My dad had a crucial role in this sense. I remember him collecting drawings, paintings, monographs, and catalogs for art exhibits that he had attended both in Italy and worldwide. When I was young, he used to take me to exhibitions and talk about art and painting as a way to tell the story of humanity, and the evolution of society in the most intimate and genuine way. One of his quotes I best remember is: “ Art, like religion, can open your soul if you believe in it.”
Can you think of a turning point in your life?
By the age of five, I had developed some problems with my leg and, for several months, I could not spend much time on my feet. While forced to stay at home, I started painting and drawing, first on paper, on pieces of cardboard, on walls, on tables around the house, and even on the balcony floor using chalks. This way, I did not have to move while colouring the world around me. But, often at night, my mom would catch me secretly moving around in my room. These events clarify what I wanted to do in life: make art and keep moving. These two passions led me to travel the world, always hungry of new cultural experiences that inspire my work.
Living in Italy helped cultivate this passion…
This is true in the way I could attend the Accademia delle Belle Arti Pietro Vannucci in Perugia and spend hours in the dark room. It made me appreciate the work behind both a beautiful picture and the poetry in the deepest black and the purest white of B&W photography. My artworks combine photography and painting, creating a coexistence of reality and surrealism. Only later on, I decided to focus on photography: this gave me a different approach in visual art, preserving images that captured my attention and got stuck in my mind all day.
Why did you make the choice of moving to San Francisco?
I decided to come and study here after visiting the city in 2009 for a month. I got fascinated by people’s life style, the facilities the school was offering, and the international environment. All inspired my curiosity and made me think this was the place where to start building my career. After trying different styles of photography as well as different subject matters and approaches, my Master at the Academy of Art helped shape my interest for architectural and interior design photography: it reflects my natural tendency to look for visual order in the world and my love to share the idea of architecture as a usable art.
Between People and architecture: what inspired the exhibit?
I decided to call my project this way because I wanted to show how architectural space is where people move and interact with the architectural design. I get inspired from small details of everyday’s life, which will make the viewer feel overwhelmed by the sheer density of art: this is what I want others to see through my photos.
Can you identify elements which make the exhibit unique or special?
Looking at my shots, you will see how the lines, the graphic elements, the reflective materials, and the dynamic forms of modern architecture produce intriguing compositions, capturing the eye and showing architecture in a new and unexpected way. For my show installation, I opted for the so-called salon style: this opulent method of hanging pictures comes from French Salons where the art filled the halls all the way up to the ceiling. The tight arrangement of frames covering most of the surface of the wall lets me display more artworks in the space and gives an overview of the entire project that started about three years ago.
What's your next step?
I would like to expand my portfolio and show a variety of architecture and interior shots to potential clients. So far, I had a great opportunity to photograph offices of Square and Lyft. I really want to develop relationships with all those architects able to push boundaries and portrait their visions through my photos.  
Between People and Architecture opens May 1st through May 31st at 625 Gallery (625 Sutter Street San Francisco) Mon-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat 10am-5pm. The opening reception will be Thursday, May 7 from 5.30pm-7.30pm. 

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