Chemical / physical series
Canvas and paint were my first tools of experimentation, and in particular, the technique of fresco. [Fresco] symbolizes the formation of a fact
which manifests itself not as an effect of a single will, but rather as a synchrony of events. From the simultaneous combination of differing states of
material and elements, a new epiphany is obtained. In the case of fresco, the introduction of pigment into a vitreous surface–as well as the
formation of the latter–occurs as a reaction between calcium hydroxide and carbon dioxide, resulting in the formation of calcium carbonate.
The calcium carbonate incorporates the color in an indelible bond.
When a gesture—a synthesis of a complexity of feelings, willpower, logic and intuition–at a precise moment is immanent to a surprising encounter
with chemical transformation, it establishes a necessary and sufficient relationship that generates a fact! The power or delicacy of a gesture, as it
carries pigment, is bonded with this vitreous film and gives life to something concrete, visible and stable, imprinting itself in reality as a narration of
the continuous flow of events.
If my gesture avoids leaving dynamic traces on the plaster [intonachino] but allows falling pigment to make contact with the wet surface, then this
event will be even more ethereal, because it is not characterized through imprint but by the particular density and granularity of the pigment itself.
The more subtle and centered the intervention of the one who acts, the more emerges the activity of an invisible agent that determines an
After having learned the technique of the strappo (detachment) for the restoration of frescos, I used it to show, from another point of view, the
value of a cairological interpretation. Before dealing with this subject, I will briefly describe the strappo technique.
This is a fresco restoration technique which allows for the removal of the painted “skin” of a wall in which the fresco is embedded. This is
comparable to an early photographic technique by which a negative is transformed into a positive image.
Technical note aside, what interests me is to show how a work can be the result of a series of events without an author. Rather, we have here a set
of gestures which highlight a congealment of several spatiotemporal aspects. I went on to create a collection of strappo of plaster skins from walls
of houses and civic buildings, for the most part in Europe. This was further experimentation with the technique of strappo itself, given the fact that
often I was dealing with sprayed concretes surfaces in addition to a variety of plasters, often detaching plaster from wood or plastic
But what interests me most here is the emphasis on the impossibility of attributing authorship to these works, in that their reality and consistency
are a result of multiple contributions, and this is where their symbolic worth lies.
From here emerges an idea of a form of embedded art which references collective signs and symbols, an expression which seems to arise from a
series of facts generated by a collective consciousness rather than by a single will.
In the case of the strappo, the archetype of metamorphosis appears condensed within the detached image: it is precisely in the detachment of
part of the wall’s surface that the archetype is activated.
Now the activation, or the agent of which we spoke, cannot be seen here as a conjunction of events that, not being attributable to a single subject,
reveal the illusion of an individual authorship.
For Jung, therefore, the archetype pre-exists thought, which recognizes it as an innate functional model, subject neither to cause and
effect nor subject to change.
This is always equal to itself and is activated only in archetypal representation, confirming the fact that any observation or measurement is the
result of reciprocal influence. Activation corresponds to recognition. This recognition of the archetype does not take place through a rational logical
understanding but through the correspondence on the one hand of the manifestation of something of its appearance
and on the other hand by an inner, hidden motion. The acquisition of the meaning of such an encounter cannot be based on a
process of cause and effect, but always presents itself as a significant coincidence, an expression of a cairological dimension. This encounter takes
place in a dimension unknown to us whose boundaries we cannot define, where there is a strong link between things. A flow that shatters the
space-time element and pervades what is perceptible and what is not, creating a tension that generates a mutual belonging.
Photos Emilio Fantin