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THE AMBIGUOUS ROAD

Uneasiness. We live in uneasy times and Cynthia Karalla has us nailed. Voilà, she laughs, pointing to her sardonic mise en scène. Her whites heavy as shrouds, her blacks like pits of sorrow, she has conjured a gallery of macabre jokes from the postcard-perfect Italy she inhabits every summer. But don’t expect Karalla to coo at la dolce vita. Her Italy is revealed ostinato through a proprietary alchemism of light and luck, inner lives of restless souls exposed against the public huddles of an eternal city. There we stand, shallow breathers, tumbled inside Karalla’s squares. Nature is no refuge, tamed to our purposes, and no human ceremony, however sacred, will save us from ourselves. If Cynthia Karalla’s photographs make us uncomfortable, it is because she has the elegance and humility to remain without answer to a most fundamental human question: are we happy? I would add, have we gone mad yet?
by Marianne Dissard