Yogurt Magazine in our February Secret Mag Club
Kitsch, grotesque, disturbing, but precisely for this fascinating, to leaf through page after page with voyeuristic obsession. We could briefly describe the latest issue of Yogurt magazine (which you can find in our store HERE), an Italian magazine of contemporary photography that we hosted in ours February Secret Mag Club and which has dedicated its second edition to bad taste. A provocation in a world of apparent perfection, a conscious excess of malpractice that reminds us how far reality can be from the social filters that level beauty and uniqueness. We know that between the two excesses, reality lies somewhere in between, but if the medium is by definition mediocre, then the exaltation of bad taste is better.
We asked Francesco Rombaldi, editor in chief and curator of Yogurt, to tell us more about this project.
How was it born and what is the purpose of this publication?
The Yogurt flavor series is a curatorial proposal which, on a given theme, stimulates the imagination and authorship of the international photographic community. By sending their images, the authors allow us to decline the theme and defragment it through their gaze.
How would you tell it to those who don't know you?
Like a visual flow that returns the suggestion of a concept. Or as a great coaster. It depends on the moments.
Why Yogurt? Where does the name come from?
I remember it was a night that takes a long time to arrive in the morning. I was wearing questionable pajamas. And I was re-evaluating several things, including the collaborations I was carrying out at the time. I needed to express myself free from any kind of constraint and to dive into a new project. I was eating a yogurt. The next morning Yogurt Magazine was online, launching its first call, on the concept of the desirable body in today's society. In fact, Yogurt is first of all an online platform that maps the new languages of contemporary photography. From there I started, and I immediately involved Luigi Cecconi and Larisa Oancea. The first is now also a partner with me of the Yogurt bookshop in Rome, the Paper Room. Larisa is a freelance curator who works in Venice and with whom we still collaborate. Since then we have grown into a larger team and I have become intolerant to dairy products. The magazine was born in full pandemic with an issue dedicated to quarantine.
This second volume instead focuses on Bad Taste, bad taste. In the editorial you write that the idea was born in an idyllic moment that you have deliberately decided to boycott. Tell us about it?
I state that the reworking of the design of the series dedicated to flavors was born in a pandemic, but Yogurt has existed since 2016. The previous version of the flavor involved the involvement of 4 international artists by number, but we then decided to stop it, to re-edit it in this way: Call for Entries and single images, so as to have more freedom of expression in editing. And in the editorial I lied. I have never experienced an idyllic moment. But I hoped I never had to admit it.
In future editorials I will try to be more genuinely depressed. Mojo, the next flavor, I think will allow me widely.
Leafing through the magazine I came up with another project that, like Yogurt, wants to be an aesthetic spite: Aversive Adhesives by the artist Max Siedentopf. Were you inspired by someone to make this edition of Yogurt?
I found the project you are talking about on Frabs, very interesting. I therefore believe that in addition to the interview I will also send you the 19 euros to get it. Let's say that the concept of Bad Taste or better of Kitsch, of obscene, of what is beautiful and what is ugly, has always haunted the arts. Surely anyone who faces it today has read Gillo Dorfles and his reflection on this theme.
How did you select the photographs and photographers featured in the magazine?
Thousands of images arrive at each number. And Yogurt's work is all about editing, so we're used to editing. Day and night. Let's say that working for single images, we try first of all to select narrative archetypes, because each image you see published, in itself represents a strand of which we have received hundreds. Then we begin to layout them trying to create a dialogue between the images.
Are they emerging photographers or are there also well-known names in the industry?
Both of them. Both names with an important curriculum and emerging ones. Basically we are always enthusiastic about the participation of interesting authors, who by participating recognize the work we carry out.
Why did you choose to launch a print magazine in a digital dominated world? What is the added value of printed paper?
As I told you Yogurt is also digital. We have separated our contents, the flavor series is a thematic curatorial project, a visual concept zine. The web magazine is a database of projects by authors who are congenial to us and which we map on a daily basis. Other publications made, responded to different needs. But we tend to love the fetish. So when can a physical product be created. Shall we!
What are Yogurt's future projects?
Right now we are preparing the Yogurt Editions photo book catalog. Made by authors curated by us in our publishing laboratories, and we then designed the book. In short, from idea to paper. At the same time we are also working on projects of others, so I would like to point out for those who will be in Rome on March 13 the beautiful edition of Garbatella Images, dedicated to imagination. Conceived by Francesco Zizola and co-edited by me and Sara Alberani, of which there is also a beautiful volume designed by Yogurt.
And in July we will launch Charta in Rome: a photobook festival, a festival dedicated to the photographic book, in which we will showcase the books that will decline the theme of this edition: Demons. The theme aims to investigate all the darkest derivations of the human condition, from territorial problems to social or more finely psychological ones. Giving a transversal point of view on the critical issues in the contemporary. There will be editorial previews, installations, portfolio reviews and a nice prize for the best Dummy.
The project is the winner of the "Photography Strategy 2020" public notice promoted by the Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity of the Ministry for goods and activities cultural and tourism.