Artist Statement | John Manno Misbegotten Places
My art takes me into a world that at first sight appears to exist, but then reveals itself to deviate from reality and enter a world of fantasies. Façades, windows, doors and columns all appear as they might in a real world, but their ultimate construct is false. The architectural elements have been assembled and paired with objects in order to alter reality.
I’ve always been a still life photographer, and as such I’m obsessed with controlling every aspect of an image. In Misbegotten Places, which I began in 2016, I create buildings, design porticos, insert windows and build a world to my liking from unrelated architectural elements. As it comes together, the resulting surreal imagery further stokes my imagination and guides me deeper into the process. Each piece goes through several iterations, finally letting me know it’s finished when I feel certain that it’s a space I’d visit with a sense of awe.
My inspiration for this body of surreal photography comes from many sources: elaborate opera sets, the surrealist painters, photographers who work in the medium of miniatures, and my own intense desire to create alternative realities. These works fill me with a sense of disorienting wonderment: I ask myself where are these places? - what is real ?- how do they exist?
My aim is not to fool the viewer, but to take them into my other-worlds and for a moment have them experience this wonderment.