I’ve started doing photomontage just before beginning my university diploma, assembling a text with image in order to reflect on the form representing human being on the moon.
My idea was working directly on well known images.
I’ve chosen an abstract place, to think about architecture. A space on the edge between reality and fiction. I was looking for another place where I would be able to dismiss every kind of linguistic influence. I wanted to be isolated in order to select a form which could tell behind academic standards.
The few available images on books and magazine gave me the opportunity to produce through images.
To face the moon, inhospitable place where architecture should even have a more important role that on earth. I’ve chosen as a starting point a natural element, a rock where human being has left its mark. The informal rocks had a highly symbolic meaning on the primordial society. It was often believed that rough stones, unrefined, where residence of spirits or gods and were used on primordial civilizations , as tombstones, or boundary stones, or as sacred cult’s objects. A similar employ can be considered as a kind of primordial sculpture, a first attempt to confer to the stone an expressive power greater than the proper one. Rocks is an archetype acting in our mind as a creative strength inspiring new ideas, from this image is taking shape different proposal which consider architecture as a shelter, a sacred space. In another image architecture correspond to elementary forms, prisms, spheres and pyramids, notes on space to live in. I was searching for a starting point , a beginning, I was thinking over and over to the black monolith of Kubrick in “2001 a space odyssey” a perfect black prism with a mysterious origin arise on our planet and from this presence the human civilization can begin. This memory’s fragment was shaping my moon project.
From that moment I understood the value of annotation by images, their evocative power that brings together memories and its interpretation. That’s why I’ve carried on this method of work during the years, composing a sequence of annotations to be used for the project.
Recently re-elaborating some of this images I understood that today is even more necessary to get a method in order to organize an archive of fragments, and use it as starting point for projects.
The montages are used as an instrument to record ideas, they produce narrative strategy useful for questioning on the project itself. Taking note is also a reading system of the real, the archives are born on signs affections, a fragment, a space, an image strike us more than another and we keep it. Notes put one next to the other are forming a reality simulation that can be interpreted . Noting is, in the same time, a planning process and a practice and I try to develop it as theoretical approach. Truly in that way I add image to a world of image, but it’s also true that on this manner I can reorganize fragments of reality.
Notes are built through operations: increasing signs, changing scales, inversions, inserts, superimpositions, erasures. What I’m actually doing is building an Atlas. Building an Atlas on the definition made by Aby Warburg, a form of parallel explanation between reality and imagination. Warburg use photos in two ways: cutting, photographic cuts are made to organizing a cognitive map, then the produced board is fixed through a photographic representation which determine the fragments position, from images to their collage in a sequence to be interpreted. The archive is my starting point, then its manipulation through notes produce different possibility.
I do not consider building an Atlas in such a way as going back to drawing but as an evolution to the drawing practice. Its bringing up to date, I do not draw, I put together a cultural research experience, linked to my work as an architect. Mine it’s an assembly operation, on spaces I pass through and observe every day, on the image that strike me and I try to change, giving new meaning. It’s a practice to reset on image reality and to act on our way of looking.
The idea is not to stand out the similarity on images, but the possible connections on different research line, a work on the new meanings building process. Of course single images don’t have any kind of artistic value, but are acting on the creation of a new interpretative instrument of reality. Warburg has put in place a new writing method because in his time he caught the possibility to amplify the meaning building an instrument which could visualize a reality described till then through words. Today all this seems obvious, but I’m convinced that due to the fact that we are surrounded by so many images it’s even more important to find a way to think through images, putting into place a physical and mental organization process of this huge cultural asset, which slowly is replacing the real. Bringing back a position inside a cognitive process means before anything else recognizing to the image a different value. Between 1929 and 1934 Max Ernst composed three different novels collected today in a volume “Une semaine de bonté” it was the same year when André Breton was prohibiting surrealists to write novels, Ernst in order to contain this ban created a new category, a collage novel. With this work he reinvented the rules of narrating, he searched on old books pages and restored them together looking at wood engraving inspired by popular novels, at natural science magazine and also at selling catalogues, cutting meticulously the drawing catching his attention and assembling them bringing the collage technique to an extreme perfection.
The final result was such that every collage involved a mechanism development giving origin to extraordinary being, moving along fascinating surrounding, unreal world defying the comprehension of sense and reality. In this practice Ernst shape a completely new Atlas, where a geography of signs recreate a reality and a decaying and obscure atmosphere, it’s as Ernst was cutting the flow of great romance scene of this time some of the exceptional moments transforming them in slow motions where the reality translation was summarized in few unexpected gesture. Completely new images, uncommon which were supposed to establish another level of contemporary reality, a very high level duplicated and reproduced to the end in the contemporary art.
Ernst teach us an important skill, invention is the result of a series of note about reality cutting out a piece of world in order to recompose it through a combination of far and different images: in the ruins of the modern world that Ernst twisted and readjusted to emerge on such ruins ghosts of nouveau, was at work the analogical law which broke the appearance where things were linked on fallacy and found unpredictable combination, the one that no one has never seen and the meaning of which still ambiguous …..
The sequel and the assembly make the montage original notes that maybe today can be again employed as instrument to create a new language freeing the thought of mechanism from the already conceived trap.
Texto e imagenes de Luca Galofaro, Arquitecto