Click here to read the Italian version of the text
In the real world, in the postmodern, evolved and liberal society – which has broken down so many barriers in favour of freedom of choice and individual expression – there are still some controversial, shaded areas, that the limpidity of logical, healthy, enlightened and civil thought is not able yet to puzzle out. These are painful areas to walk through, where the risk of finding themselves alone and of coming out more confused than before is very high. These are tricky issues to approach and a great silence reigns here, once the clamour of those who crowd and judge at the entrance is left behind.
The psychological consequences of abortion are among those politically and morally controversial areas. Whenever an individual becomes subject to a traumatic experience, without the chance of processing it freely, the repercussions on the emotional level are inevitable. Abortion is undoubtedly a traumatic experience, but it is also an arduously acquired human right. And any right, once recognized collectively as such, implies duties and responsibilities that regard not only the person involved, but the whole community. It certainly takes nerves to assume any kind of responsibility.
Even within the privileged and protected artistic world, there are slippery areas that the artist is afraid to penetrate, but for the opposite reason: some topics have been so paved and vexed that they have become almost worn-out. Let us take, for example, the topic of dreams. A source of human inspiration since the days of ancient civilizations, a place of truth and prediction, dreams have been one of the great protagonists of the Twentieth century, a symbol as well as an instrument of social revolutions and art movements. Over the past decades, terms such as surrealism, unconscious and psychoanalysis have crossed the borders of specialized knowledge and have started to be spread and shared as common practice. The pursuit of a new and polyhedral horizon and the subversion of banality – which the oneiric world contributed to define – have been reabsorbed into the common thought and the dream itself have become a stereotype. It takes nerves also to create a fruitful dialogue by employing a stereotype.
What a nerve, I immediately thought when Luigi showed me his project for the first time, two years ago. At that time, it was still a work in progress, not so defined and refined as we see it today, but the promise of making us shiver from head to foot was already there. A project about the emotional effects of abortion, narrated through a photographic transposition of the oneiric images described by women who have experienced it at first hand. A project about abortion, or rather about its post-surgery issues, its immaterial aspect. A project about dreams, with the cliché façade covering their less romantic, but still relevant, social and collective value. More than that! A photographic project about the dreams that abortion could provoke. Not even the trick of abstraction as a parachute for the implications of a such a risky goal. But this project was calling me, it has been waiting for me for too long, Luigi told me project about abortion, or rather about its post-surgery issues, its immaterial aspect. A project about dreams, with the cliché façade covering their less romantic, but still relevant, social and collective value. More than that! A photographic project about the dreams that abortion could provoke. Not even the trick of abstraction as a parachute for the implications of a such a risky goal. But this project was calling me, it has been waiting for me for too long, Luigi told me.
What a nerve, indeed, to listen to such a thought and give a voice to such an argument. But once he chose this path, what other solution could Luigi adopt, if not photography? Simply, and very honestly, this is what Luigi is able to to: he tells stories through images. He translates what he has patiently gathered and heard into descriptive and yet symbolical images, and then he acts on the substance, in the most physical sense of the term: manipulating the material, the paper, the structure, applying old techniques, experimenting with new solutions, designing, creating, discarding, starting over again and again. It was a long and tiring trip, which I have followed from the very beginning, through its ups and downs, its satisfactions and frustrations. I am not sure that, at the starting point, Luigi was fully aware of the rough task he would have to take charge of, but I am grateful for having had the courage not to give up halfway.
Dream is such an intriguing phenomenon and an inexplicable mystery, but all the more unaccountable are the mystery and the appearance that our mind gives to certain objects or certain aspects of life (1). This statement could sound a bit passé, but I believe it grasps the spirit of Fuori era estate. The project deals with concepts we base our beliefs on, and it enlightens them by empirical knowledge rather than by abstract, moral, ethical, aesthetical or theoretical constructions.
The prints – patiently obtained through traditional printing processes – as well as the plates – in which the women’s words emerge from the depths of indifference – are an invitation to dissolve the state of ignorance around which we articulate our beliefs on the nature and meaning of life. At the same time, these images allow us, in a very gentle way, to imagine, to roam and to enjoy them as they are, as visual data.
Walking through these experiences, both intimate and universal, we finally realize that we are such stuff as dreams are made on (2). Could this really scare us? It sounds like a chocolate-box expression, and yet is a dry truth, a clear and unequivocal responsibility. That requires – once again, but not only to Luigi this time – courage and humility.
(1) Massimo Carrà, “Metafisica”, Mazzotta, 1968
(2) William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, Act IV, Scene I
The original text was translated from Italian to English in occasion of the show Fuori era estate by Luigi Cecconi, curated by Annalisa D’Angelo, at lehic in Brussels (April 20th – May 22nd, 2017).