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Dafne Salis

MA work

Black Sun

A fleshy veil separates us. An elusive fleeing screen cuts off what can be seen from what cannot be seen. What lies behind that has been perceived as inexistent. Invisible and yet powerful feeling of desire and pain and creativity and vitality. And one is driven towards it. Or not. The desire to acknowledge its existence, to celebrate it, moves me to unveil what is veiled without the will. 

How can I make visible what is invisible? How can I make visible what doesn’t belong to the visual realm? Pay good attention here: it is not a matter of synesthesia. The latter can always help in the research, of course. 

I am more concerned with extending the visible spectrum.

I place myself inside the darkroom, I live it. I am it. Descartes says that a man in the dark room turns his sight only upon the outside. There is an inside and an outside. One needs to inhabit the inside to be able to see. But what happens to the shadow? To the internal space that makes the vision possible? Can it still be experienced in vision?

If one becomes that darkness, if one's body allows darkness, that body becomes an eye. In that way, the gaze is reversed. My female identifying body becomes an active agent for sight, for looking at the world. A generative space where photography can come into existence, literally. 

Motherhood looks back at her sons and daughters. 

The internal, intimate space of the house transformed into a camera obscura so to trace and to reveal what cannot been seen.


  • Dafne Salis
  • MA Degree


    School of Arts & Humanities


    MA Photography, 2018

  • My fascination with photography lies within the medium specificities. The tactics that realize an image and holds the politics of power behind it.

    They went into a very thick forest, where they could not see one another [...] Little Thumb let them cry, knowing very well how to get home again, for he had dropped the little white pebbles all along the way.’ Charles Perrault. The Tales of Mother Goose, 1696.

    Darkness is photography's territory, until light comes in, from a pin point, and the image is created. From our world's complexities, little pebbles are left behind. Selected pictures are unwittingly ordered into a narrative that conforms and confirms our mental images.

    My research tries to question the validity of the world's narratives as we currently framed it, from a female perspective, within the broad range of identity. I am interested in the relation between the image and the psyche, how visual representations contribute to shape the psychic image we have of ourselves and that we project onto others. How a person individuate oneself? What mental representation/image concur to its definition? How psychical  representation of the self is formed and informed by images  we are immersed in? What are the models, iterations and stereotypes proposed? 

    I am particularly interested in exploring visual representation of women. On this matter, my research focuses on the process of creation of the images as a mean of power. The relationship at work amongst the author, the audience and the subject photographed, engraves the gaze upon which the subject is outlined. Is it possible to re-distribute equally the imbalance amongst those three actors? Within this relationships of power, what happens when the subject portrayed is physically invisible although experienced? What is its relation with the visible? And, does its exclusion from the visible realm, affects its hierarchical position? How can we as artists give voice, make visible, something that is not?

    At the core of the analysis lies the body with its image. What I perceive of it. Its practices, representations, performative actions, its perceptions, intended as cultural construct rather than a natural given. The body as carrier of meanings and culture, to be reinterpreted, in order, for the individual, to exhume, resurfacing.  

    The work, mainly, but not only, photographic, attempts to overturn psychic images of ourselves by means of paradoxes, hiperboles or literal explanations, logic puns, which aim to uncover embedded images meaning. Sometimes, it invokes a fantasy or a narrated world which intertwines psychoanalysis, language and symbols, and questions given models and myths.


  • Degrees

  • BA (Hon) Photography, London College of Communication, 2012
  • Experience

  • Artist talk at Camberwell College of Art, UAL, 2018.; Commission by Perlana for Women, 2017; Residency at 33 Officina Creativa, Toffia, Italy, 2014; Residency at Sassoon Gallery, London, 2012; Artist Talk, The benefits of working collectively, Photofusion, London, 2016.
  • Exhibitions

  • La forza di rinascere , Dream Factory, Milan, 2017; Making it Real, Ugly Duck, London, 2017; One Night Stand, Doomed, London, 2017; Work In Progress, Royal College of Art, London, 2017; Locked In, Giardini di Vigna la Corte, Latina, 2016; Locked In, The Tabernacle, London, 2016; Skin & Blister Collective, Photofusion, London, 2016; Future Identities, Palazzo Albrizzi, Venice, 2014; Il mio Paradiso, MACRO Museo di Arte Contemporanea, Rome, 2014; Generators Accelerators Originators, LCC, London, 2012; The Third Factor Sassoon, London, 2012
  • Awards

  • A+B=Love, Ancona Ackathon, 2018; Premio Adrenalina 2.0. 2014; Excellent Work Award, interim award from Salvatore Arancio, LCC, 2008
  • Publications

  • The Third Factor, Artlicks, November 2011; The Third Factor, Creative Review, June 2011; How a Female Photography Collective Turned One-Night Stands into Art, Broadly, 2014