Silvia Gentili

The Intimacy of a Strange Being is a series of self-portraits that explores the frustrating and disarming experiences of life trying to find a way not to vanish. It is an act of resistance to overcome the unbearable sense of melancholy. A melancholy caused by the dichotomy of the relationship within the self.

This self-portrait is part of an ongoing project that deals with medicine and physical pain, and questions the representation of the self, body, and illness. In November 2018, I was diagnosed with chronic idiopathic angioedema, a rare immune system disease that causes the swelling of limbs, soft tissues, and internal organs. It felt like my body started speaking an incomprehensible language, while I could not recognize myself anymore. I would look in the mirror and see the reflection of an unknown person while all the positive elements in me were slowly caged and blurred. I felt like a prisoner of my own body. This tryptic is the first attempt to come to terms with the illness and the starting point of a personal journey and growth.

Unicef Basilicata and CIDP (Italian Center for Personality Disorders) commissioned The Shapes We Buried for the Violence and Childhood day organised in Matera, European Capital of Culture 2019, on the 12th of October 2019. It is the true story of a girl who was adopted and abused as a child. Nature and the different shapes and colours lead the viewer through memories, voids, suppressions, and oblivions of this girl's life.

Silvia Gentili


Silvia Gentili is a multidisciplinary artist, independent curator and workshop facilitator. Her practice explores stories that belong to the personal and political realm through the use of photography, film, performance, sound and text.

Her research investigates the concepts of trauma and memory in connection to the body, landscape and storytelling. Recently, her research has moved into the field of medical humanities. She is developing a methodology to elaborate a language that can express the emotions and physical perceptions of the sick body.

Gentili has exhibited her work internationally and gained a MA in Photography from London College of Communication, and previous to that a BA in Anthropology (University of the Studies of Rome La Sapienza) and a Diploma in Photography (IED Rome).


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