1988 Elelisphatos



Glancing through the pages of this book is like entering “another space”. This space, “other” than that in which we are and move through, within our dimensions and with our physical weight, is the space within the book.[read]Entering the book means entering the realm of the twelve images. Letting ourselves be carried away by the images, letting ourselves be led by them means entering an extraneous space, thereby undergoing a fundamental conversion with respect to the world and reality.
The book is silent and could not be otherwise: there cannot be extraneous words along with the twelve images, extraneous words that enter their self-sufficient realm, and my words here are quite tightly outside the book, in another place altogether.
Respect the silence of these images means understanding their innermost nature and at the same time observing this condition without respect for which there is no way of reaching them.
The silence of the images does not wholly exclude words: it does, however, only embrace those that are part of the “text” of the image which is a polysemous text par excellence.
The words that appear in the book violate the silence of the blank page from which they seem to emerge, as if by magic: they live apart from the determinative aspect of the discourse and in no away establish it.
The words, here, term things as animal, vegetable or mineral; that is the world, along the guidelines of an obsession for classifying that does not constitute an order.
Taken out of the discourse the words in the book live a rapport of a metonymical nature with the images in a perennial exchange of planes that, at the same time, forms the secret order of the book which, once we have perceived it, allows us to enter the pages and to go through time, grasping the “law” which, arbitrary like in all games, both governs it and builds it up. Part of this game, whose fundamental rule is purposely not made clear by the artist, are the black signs on a white background that cross the page with an almost abrupt movement, a kind of unusual code. The completeness of the text has been lost and, like with an enigma, those glancing through are called upon to recover it by patiently gathering together the indications that refer to it.
There are twelve numbered images in the book: twelve like the months of the year, twelve like the signs of the Zodiac, twelve like the fruits of the tree of life, twelve like the tribes of the people of Israel, twelve like the disciples of Jesus Christ, twelve like the stars that make up the crown of the Lady of the Apocalypse and so on…
In a way these twelve images are related to the Zodiac as a symbol in itself and as a grouping together of individual elements; but the Zodiac here is referred to, more than anything else, as the place of connections where, in an endless flight, something stands in the place of something else: what is important is the continual movement and the liaison between the terrestrial element and the celestial element. It is, however, as if the array of meanings that stern from these images could not, as yet, be complied with; there prevails, always, a kind of irreducible nucleus that brings over the unsoundable character of the image: there is, in fact, an essential difference between the images and the meanings, a difference of nature. Before our eyes, the twelve images unwind across the pages of the book, tending to become pure rhythm: and it is through this rhythm, becoming one sole rhythm, that they build up a presence, rather like an event.
This is the nature of the rapport these images have with time: they take place within time, but through them, within the time which is ours, which belongs to the things of the world, a new sort of time comes forward. And it is right there in this ocurence of what is absolutely outside the world of beings and the things that already exist, it is with this emergence of a time dimension wholly “different” to that in which we live, that we become aware of the presence of the work of art and its taking shape as a breath of wind, a chant that evokes bewilderment and leads us elsewhere.
A trace of light brings out twelve figures from a black velvety backdrop, figures that come from afar, not only from that distance of “tradition”, to which they do indeed refer: here, it is a matter of essential distance, or rather we should say that it is , in effect, this very distance which finds expression through these images.
When speaking about them, the artist says that they are bodies that bear signs, while at the same time being traversed by them, signs of both a “corporal” yet “subtle” topography both an “anatomical atlas” and maps of the other world.
They take form before our eyes, yet they are not actually there.
They “exist”, but they do not belong to our world. They have a bearing, because they resemble something else, something “missing”; and since this resemblance still has weight as it is, but is classified as “different”, these images invoke a “difference” that is ever out of reach.
Their essence is, therefore, to be found right there in this difference, and for this reason, too, they have nothing to do with meaning as implied by the existence of the world. The fascination that emanates from them, and intrigues those looking at them and those who are exposed to them, stems from a perturbation that up-turns a well-structured reality: in just one paradoxical move their effect embraces image and object, the space of impossibility and the world of possibility.
The twelve plates included in this book and the book itself do, however, map out an iter: the nature of this iter is one that never finishes, because the goal is the unreachable. For this reason, perhaps, the twelve images we see here resemble another work the artist is carrying ahead: twelve large glass pillars that rise up from the ground towards the sky; here we find glass instead of paper and transparence instead of opaqueness. So the twelve images have assumed another form along their iter: from being griffiti on a black back-ground they have become bodies marked by the transparence of their contours and by the opaqueness of black, a black inconceivable without thinking of the light that passes through the glass. Here the physical, material element dovetails, in the concreteness of the work, with the celestial element to which the nature the glass alludes because of its being transparent, translucent.
The twelve images in the book are a kind of mobile constellation and have moved on in their pilgrimage to visit other places and have left their mark on other materials. They are, therefore, a fragment of e far wider context which is the artist’s overall œuvre.
In its impossible attempt to correspond to some supreme model that does not assume the form of some already existing object, this work has set out along its iter or rather the work itself consists of this infinite iter which is its continually starting afresh.
Daniela Cristadoro
Trad. Clive Poster[/read]

Elelisphatos. Edition of 12 engravings on linoleum, publisher: Alessandro Bagnati, printer: Giorgio Upiglio, linoleum 60×120 cm – paper 70×215 cm, 12 numbered prints, 9 artist’s trials, 1988 [GR0001]