Thursday, April 7, 2011

In Praise of Light

“I could see the road clearly just then and, plunked down on the mud beside it, big squares and cubes of houses, their walls whitened by the moonlight, like big unequal blocks of ice, pale and silent. Would be this the end of it all? How much time in this desolation after they’d done for me? Before it was all over? […] That night I had everything to myself. I was the owner of the moon, the village and an enormous fear.”

I have always dreamed to see - or more daringly, to make - an image that could show what these words by Louis-Ferdinand Céline describe, the whiteness of ice glowing in the deepest night. Many times I pictured in my mind a photograph that would force me to hold my eyes wide open in order to see, like we do when we walk in the dark and we try to guess what is a step ahead of us; or a photograph that would make me squint for its brightness, hiding its countless details inside a blinding light. Photography always needs light, of course, but how can photography really be about light, committed to it?

We have chosen ten artists who’ve devoted their work to the beauty of light, each of them crafting a different poem to it: chanting its absence and all the ghosts it evokes in the theatre of night, or its sheer force and the scars it leaves on the surface of a film; light as the endless shades of colours painting the true heart of a land, or the veil hiding all the unearthly creatures lurking in a forest. Whether it is fading or shining in every little corner, light is not meant to show, anyway: it is meant to conceal, to transform, to invent. It is a source of different worlds, of different creatures, it is a gate for our fantasy. Light is a way to free our eyes from the trivial duty of seeing, to give ourselves a chance, instead, to feel through them.

- Fabio Severo

'In Praise of Light' is the title of this text I wrote for Unless You Will #14, a double issue curated by me and Heidi Romano, featuring the work of:

Alia Malley
Awoiska van der Molen
Chrystel Lebas
Claus Stolz
Feng Bin
Virginia Woods-Jack
Gianpaolo Arena
Deborah Parkin
Simon Høgsberg
Peter Puklus

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