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Sorrento, The Parco dei Principi, Gio Ponti and Floating Dreams: Art inspiring Art

Inspiration and the Amalfi Coast are synonymous.

So it was no surprise running into New-York based photographer, David Drebin, at work, at Sorrento’s Parco dei Principi.

The Hotel, perched on the lip of the Sorrento cliffs, is not only enthralling for its location, cantilevering the ataraxic Bay of Naples, but its genesis in the arts.

Gio Ponti, Italian architect, artist and publisher, designed the hotel on the commission of engineer Roberto Fernandes in the late fifties, finally opening its doors in the early sixties. It remains an architectural landmark, and with its cerulean interior and design –appointed interiors, remains refreshingly inspirational to this day. As the hotel itself points out:

…The historical legacy, the extraordinary location and natural colours inspired Ponti to create a structure rooted in the earth characterised by the verticality of the ancient dacha and the Sorrento coast…

Ponti, during his lifetime, cultivated artistic expression through incorporating other artists into his own work and giving them outlet through the exhibitions he orchestrated. It is insightful that this legacy has continued long after his passing simply in the inspiration of his work. A posthumous incubator in a sense, the Hotel continues to guide artists and produce.

David, Canadian, but now based in New York, creates richly captivating images, drawing on what his website describes as “...photographs that tell a tale, voyeuristic scenes with people and dream-like city/landscapes that evoke emotions, psychological perspectives and insightful reflections into the viewers’ own imagination and experiences...

We first caught sight of David while relaxing on the hotel’s jetty- enclosed beach, reached by an elevator the cliff-side down from the hotel lobby, its subterranean wetness tactile to the dense, moisture rich rock-face through which it is cut.

Looking up to the lip of the cliff, we could see David leaning over, camera in hand, training on the enclosed patch of sea between jetty and the cliff, the object of his focus his muse floating in the center of the azure water, face up, and arms right angled to her white swim-suited torso.

The Parco dei Principi that day, true to its legacy, conspired with David to produce an image which David called ‘Floating Dreams’. When we caught up briefly with David in Miami later that year, we had the pleasure of seeing the work shown. Reflective of David’s talent, we could not help imagine Gio Ponti looking down and smiling, his hotel and spirit continuing to ripple and create beyond the grave.


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