Un evento di Milano Photofestival 2021
17 settembre – 3 ottobre 2021
Dalla serie “DAL MONDO DELLE ICONE”
Le icone russe sono dominate da macchie di colore che emettono luce e fra queste ci sono i drappi rossi che sono i veri centri pittorici di tante strutture compositive iconiche.
Nelle mie opere i drappi rossi, liberandosi dai rigidi canoni compositivi imposti dalla tradizione iconica 1,2, si ripropongono come centralità visiva in composizioni nelle quali si ritrovano con elementi provenienti anche da icone diverse.
Gli sfondi oro nelle icone avevano una valenza simbolica: rappresentavano la luce divina.1,2 I miei sfondi neri sono come un alone di silenzio che attornia e fa emergere queste macchie di colore ancora più luminose e centrali.
Drappo con case da porta regale
La composizione richiama un quadro molto più complesso di Kandisky dominato da un grande drappo rosso: questi drappi rossi dominanti erano di certo rimasti ben impressi nella sua mente a seguito delle sue partecipazioni quando era bambino a celebrazioni liturgiche e a seguito delle visite insieme al padre a chiese e cattedrali per ammirarne le decorazioni.
In questa mia composizione il drappo è tratto da una icona da me fotografata al Museo Tretyakov, Mosca.
I particolari architettonici li ho ricostruiti componendo dettagli da elementi di una porta regale da una collezione privata.
Casa verde con santo
I particolari architettonici rielaborati sono stati estrapolati da un’icona appartenente ad una collezione privata. I due elementi naturalistici sono stati singolarmente estratti e rielaborati da due icone del Museo Tretyakov di Mosca.
Gli elementi compositivi sono stati estrapolati da una icona fotografata nel Museo Tretyakov di Mosca nel 2018 e poi ricomposti e rielaborati anche singolarmente.
Dalla serie “DAL MONDO MEDIOEVALE”
Qui castelli come quello di Dozza Imolese o come il Castelo Guimaraes nel nord del Portogallo,
o una dimora medioevale nel Chianti si ritrovano con ricostruzioni di paesaggi ed anche con alberelli ritagliati da opere dell’arte antica.
Le composizioni si sviluppano all’interno di uno schema compositivo rigido, ove il rapporto fra la sezione superiore con sfondo nero e quella sottostante paesaggistica rispetta le regole della “sezione aurea” 3 . Come dice Igor Stravinsky: “..Più costrizioni ci si impone, più ci si disfa dalle catene che impediscono la libera espressione dello spirito”.
I paesaggi nascono da collage digitali di frammenti di foto di colline ove per il lavoro dell’uomo “La terra …..è fatta di segni, di materia, come un quadro di Burri”4. Sono paesaggi nei quali la dimensione naturalistica dialoga con quella astratta, la realtà con la finzione, il presente con il passato.
I dialoghi con il passato sono rafforzati dai ritagli di alberelli tratti da opere dell’arte antica. Questi ritagli danno a questi alberelli un rilievo che non avevano all’interno delle opere complesse dalle quali provengono. Sono ritagli che fanno quindi dialogare anche il mondo della pittura con quello della fotografia.
Little illustration, a little photograph, a little collage, the magical and playful images of Bruno Samorì escape any definition of the genre. His works are in a certain sense the thresholds that lead into a strange dimension, placed beyond Alice’s mirror: an anti-perspective world, where details of Byzantine mosaics and Russian icons coexist and refer to each other, plowed fields similar to vertical colored palettes and castles, solitary rural houses, enchanting medieval villages … He lovingly collects fragments of landscapes and ancient art to revive them thanks to complex digital photo-collage techniques, which allow him to make the world of painting dialogue with that of photography, the naturalistic dimension with the abstract one, reality with fiction, the present with the past. It is as if he were rewriting a sort of fairytale visual text, composed of details of works of art and photographs made by himself, perhaps in recent journeys or made in the past. That is, Samorì creates a montage where fragments of images are collected and gathered to construct other images based on imagination, research, discovery. He proceeds by associations, creating a network of unexpected relationships, capable of revealing and restoring visibility to details that are often almost hidden within complex works. In the ”Drappi Rossi” series (2017-2019), for example, he highlights some red mantles, similar to flying clouds of cotton wool, which recur, half-hidden in the richness of the details of the works, in many icons that he photographed especially in the Tretyakov Museum in Moscow.
It is as if he, in creating some of his works, had assumed a cognitive and reflective attitude similar to that of the philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman when, admiring the frescoes of the convent of San Marco in Florence, painted by Beato Angelico, rather than just concentrating his attention on the central scene of the ”Madonna delle ombre”
fresco, observes what is generally only seen casually, namely the so-called “decorative register” at the base of the painting. Why, the philosopher wonders, even the most knowledgeable art historians have thoroughly investigated every iconographic attribute of the “central” paintings and have not paid “the slightest attention to the amazing colorful firework that unfolds just beyond below, three meters wide and one meter and fifty high? ” (1). From this reflection begins his famous book Storia dell Arte e anacronismo delle immagini in which he undertakes to “restore historical dignity, that is intellectual and aesthetic subtlety, to visual objects that were considered non-existent, or at least devoid of meaning.” (2).
Of course, Samorì’s works, unlike Didi-Huberman’s extensive essay, do not claim to have a historiographical and theoretical approach, but what brings them closer is the aptitude to pause and give value to what is at the margins of the gaze, to the apparently “minor” details. Thus, in addition to the ”Drappi Rossi” series, also in ”Trame di Linee” (2015-2020) and From the ”Dal Mondo dei Mosaici bizantini” (2015-2020) our author brings out and restores visual centrality to what is lateral and not seen: a fairy tree discovered in the floor of the Cathedral of Siena, a particular minute of a vase by Manfredi exhibited at the MIC in Faenza, an artistic practice: that of recovering existing images. We talk about found footage when it is frames or sequences of films and videos that are recovered and reviewed; by found photo when it comes to founding photographs. But this reuse of found material (even in his archive), as his work, also highlights, lends itself to extremely differentiated visual strategies even if all based on the encounter, discovery or analysis of existing works. Samorì arranges and organizes his final images in a compositional order that is no longer that of reality, but that of correspondences, sympathies and “elective affinities” (to use a term dear to both Goethe and Walter Benjamin) to the point of creating an enchanted yet rigorous visual universe.
Not by chance, as evidence of how important for him – a scientist by training – precision and compositional constraints, Bruno Samorì loves to quote this phrase by Igor Stravinsky: “Now in art, as in everything, one builds only on the resistant ground. What does not allow support does not even allow movement… The more constraints one imposes, the more one gets rid of the chains that prevent the free expression of the spirit ”. Everything in his images is organized coherently and perfectly based on the visual project he has decided to set up. But what kind of perfection is it? Our author, unlike many of his contemporaries, does not create alienating works that disassemble and disorganize the visual order. It does not act for fractures and displacements. His images do not suggest disturbing or disconcerting emotions but on the contrary a sort of “re-enchantment”. His seems an invitation to direct the viewer towards playful mental forays, unthinkable in the normal order of the world. Adventures where things no longer suffer the ravages of time, decay or change. In the ”Dal Medioevo” series (2016-2020), the castles and historic residences that stand alone on bright geometric landscapes appear to be figures immersed in a still and crystalline time, in a universe closer to myth and poetry than to reality. A time where nothing can scratch its absoluteness or be corrupted, modified… He thus subtracts his images from any temporal location not to take them out of history, but to bring out everything, every detail in its beauty, to transform history into a precious gift to be carefully preserved.
All this is curious, because photography – which has always been considered an instrument that fixes the here and now and therefore marked by a subtle melancholy connected to always seeing what has already happened, already passed – in Samorì’s work loses this specificity to enter in a new timeless dimension, suspended and enchanted. And this also thanks to a composition that is never perspective, but always on a single plane. As if his gaze were not conditioned by the notions of Euclidean perspective and space, his works seem paradoxical to obey the canons of the “inverted perspective” outlined by the great Russian theologian Pavel Florensky. Through the “inverted perspective”, God – says Florensky – looks at man, illuminating him with his visual rays, and man contemplates them lowering his gaze to receive them. Certainly, Samorì’s work cannot be said to be marked by this spiritual attitude, yet he – as for the Byzantine icon – rejects the depth of field typical of perspectives, to propose a vision where things, rather than arrange themselves along lines of flight that they push their gaze towards the infinity of the horizon, everything on the opposite shows themselves and imposes themselves as somewhat enigmatic, somewhat playful presences that in their fixity seem to want to ask us: “Do you know where I come from? what story do I have? “. With a fairy-tale and imaginative touch Samorì, composes a universe made up of “cut out” figures that emerge and hover weightlessly from a black background, brilliant and timeless, just like in a dream.
But – someone will ask – why use black as a backdrop, a non-color color, which has always been an emblem of darkness and shadow? In truth, here the black has no symbolic or negative value but acts as an aura of silence that surrounds things and makes them emerge luminous, giving them importance and concentration. We can think of his images as a musical score in which the silence of the black background is embodied in a pause that allows the sound to emerge with its crystalline strength and then prolongs its echo. In the ancient world, two types of black were distinguished: “ater”, the opaque black, which later became a negative symbol, and “niger”, the bright black. Well, our author uses niger: this brilliant black that does not corrupt things has no peculiar expressive qualities but works like the white spaces that surround the letters to make them more intelligible and visible. It is a diacritical silence that separates, distinguishes, and defines. Sculpted in silence, then, figures advance towards us that make up a magical world made of lonely trees, medieval dream castles, crystalline landscapes never crossed by a cloud, fortified citadels wrapped tightly between walls, small fairytale churches, flying red drapes.