Alessandro Dandini de Sylva

Paesaggi (2015)

Edition of 300 copies hand numbered and signed

Designed by Filippo Nostri

With a text by Giuseppe Garrera

Paesaggi is the first artist book by Alessandro Dandini de Sylva and collects a series of photographic experiments obtained through instant color film prints. Alessandro Dandini de Sylva intervenes in the chemical process of developing his images, either by interrupting or overlapping the photographic impression. The resulting images break down into sequences of colours and abstract shapes, evocative of watercolours. The ambiguous nature of the work questions the relationship between photography and reality, deconstructing and rebuilding the essence of the landscape through abstract means. The book, designed by Filippo Nostri and with an essay by Gianni Garrera, is part of the library of artists' books in the Tate Library collection and has been featured in major photobook exhibitions and contemporary art publishing fairs as Off Print in Paris and London, I Never Read in Basel and Unseen in Amsterdam.


A text by Giuseppe Garrera

Everything that happens on heaven and earth is subject to harmonic coherence (Augustine of Hippo, De musica, I, 2, 2; I, 3, 4; I, 9, 15; I, 13, 28; VI, 7, 19; VI, 12, 34), consequently all our landscapes are in equilibrium between heaven and earth. The world is in tune, and so the days are distributed and arranged at suitable intervals (Zarlino, Le Istitutioni Harmoniche, 2). The monotony of time is converted into the need for dawns and dusks. The alternating movement of nature produces the combination that adapts everything to itself and to everything else (Boethius, De institutione arithmetica I, 1; Augustine of Hippo, De ordine I, 10, 28; I, 39), in such a way that all things are moved gradually, respecting periods and proportions (Plato, Gorgias 508 a). The world’s movement is musical, although it is music that is abstraction from sound, because harmony doesn’t need to play. The essential feature of the world’s harmony is not to be sought in the audible, but in the manifest silence with which things proceed. Harmonic wisdom prevents opposite realities from diverging indefinitely, calibrates the modulation between opposites and controls the distribution of the becoming. It does not negate contrary manifestations, but mitigates them by associating them, regulating the development of the participation of everything with metric control over the becoming, so that rising is in harmony with setting and each phenomenon does not stop at itself, but one thing degenerates while another is produced. Harmony establishes a connection between the fundamental separation of light from darkness. Otherwise denial is inherent in everything: the one denies being the other. Sunrise denies being a sunset and vice versa.

Does the horizon aspire to free itself from contradiction? Our horizon is a dual one: rising and setting exist alongside, although always kept at a due distance. Harmony avoids their incoherent mingling, eliminates one-way exclusivity, and compensates divarications so that the world does not divide into opposites or concentrate itself in a single direction until consuming itself. An order is established, constituted by alternations that are never concluded, because the unification of the manifold can never occur, and a condition of absolute inactivity is similarly impossible. Nothing supports immovable singularity in itself (Plotinus, Enneads, V, 2, 1). The loss of things is more harmonious than the preservation of every singularity. Everything wanes by harmonic determination and may be completed only through a limit that measures it and commensurates it with all the rest, otherwise it would develop to excess and remain exuberantly possible (Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, I, XXVIII). Dissolution resolves the composition of everything to the benefit of the permanence of everything and the continuing reconfirmation of the whole. Despite being homogeneous, creation will never be able to consolidate itself securely in the union of opposites or throw itself o balance to favour just one of its sides. The oscillation between opposites is the alternation that, without really developing on any one side, continuously balances itself in the perfect manner of the trill (G. W. Leibniz, Die philosophische Schriften, Gerhardt, Berlin 1875, VII, p. 87). Alternation is ornamental pure movement that has no end, even though a becoming with no end is repugnant, and so this movement that constitutes the music of the world (and that Hegel confuses with the tremolo) is in some ways a movement of desperation (Thomas Aquinas, De anima, q. 16, ad tertium). The whole requires the continuing endurance of the alternating movement of the end and the beginning, or in other words the interchange of dawns and dusks.

The contemplation of all this should be hugely furthered by bringing together such large intervals of time, in order to see from dawn to dusk in a single look. Similar contemplation should be applied to movements occupying a long interval, which require much time and occur over such an extended period that our senses are unable to register them. Could a single look take in the passage of several seasons? Less perfect beings, such as ourselves, see via a larger number of looks, while the most perfect see using fewer looks (Francis de Sales, Traité de l’amour de Dieu, VI, 5). The unification of looks is a refinement fabulously attributed to the perception of spiritual bodies, usually taking the form of a superior being with several eyes and multiple pupils. Take, for example, the myriad eyes covering the bodies of cherubim, in which separate and distant moments are reunited in a few looks, allowing an unbroken command of all time past to appear in full before the eyes (Ezekiel 1:18, Revelation 4:6–8), and simultaneously the colours of dawn and dusk. As cherubic sight is able to see everything simultaneously, it can capture the present and the past close together, and that which was before and that which is after are synthetically connected and present to the sight of angels, who see from morning to evening in a glance. The eyes of the cherubim have the succession of dawns and dusks arrayed in the vertical dimension like a simultaneous panorama, in which dawn does not deny that it is dusk. The harmony of the world does not unfold on a horizon in their eyes, but is vertically transposed with the accuracy of an instantaneous contemplation that has the intentness of a single look.

Selected works
Curatorial projects