Sinners will be forgiven. Corrupt will not […]. Open yourself to love. i
Originally, this video project was designed for the 17th century San Giuseppe Church in Polignano a Mare, but with the pandemic and related rules on social distancing, things have changed. The project underwent a splitting process (IRL/online) which transformed it into a two-faced herma, in love with a face that cannot be touched.
The exhibition is actually set up in the church but public access will never be allowed.
It is possible to visit it only through the online platform Sajetta – so the project exists simultaneously online and in the church where no one can experience it, except through a leap of faith.
Doubting is lawful. The doubt is in the game of faith, in the game of love. But nobody is here to check.
The works involved revolve around love (not as a subject but as an experience), conception, romance and intimacy, as well as female gaze and body. The church becomes the blasphemous frame for the projection of works that stage representations of love and sensuality.
Here, the object of faith and belief become simply love.
“The eye can see things the arm cannot reach” is an ultra-private, maybe purely speculative, project that leads us into the intimate dimension of faith. Faith in something that is definitely happening, but that no one can experience, assist or prove it, because to demonstration it is to deny it. Faith that bodies and love are not just an illusion; even during a pandemic.
Love is the son of Penia; poverty, need, missing, absence.
All the works involved show and invoke love for Other (lovers/friends/children/sisters/communities/comrades) but visualized in a way and in a time in which every interaction is denied. The show is set inside a vessel that generally hosts people who believe that the body of Christ really existed, but which now welcomes us, in the vortex of a historical moment that allows us only to believe that the others, their corporeity and their physical presence still really exist.
Interactions are now fantasized and the desire is at its apogee.
The dreamed, awaited, escaped body becomes the image of a reproduction responding to the dictation of desire. The lost body is truly absent; loneliness becomes the space of its abstract presence. Abstraction itself then is nothing but absence and pain, pain of absence – so perhaps love.
The condition of waiting for love-r can be defined as a mystical vocation to imagination and reverie. The lover who waits does not know more effective tools than the imagination to heal, albeit deceptively, the absence of the loved one. While waiting, the lover “manipulates” the object of love, giving it a body, a face, a character, intentions and words, which never match reality. The entity awaited, the mass centre of love dynamics, can actually prove to be nothing more than an imagined object: who, then, is this body for me, if not the fruit of my imagination? Isn’t it an unreal, evanescent body that I’m actually waiting for? Is the awaited body endowed with its own objectivity? Is its image linked, by its very nature, to the subjectivity of those who think it?
Corpus Domini. ii
An important aspect emerging from the processes set in motion by the alternation of the works can be found in the idea/image/representation of the body and its ownership.
Quarantine represented an intensely self-reflexive moment, a non-time in which the body did not have to exhibit itself. Consequently, it also represents the dimension of distancing, of detachment, not only from others but above all from social constructs.
Love is the exclusive space of intimacy, separated from society and the roles it imposes; it becomes an absolute (solutus ab ? absolútus), dissolved from everything, in which everyone can liberate the self that cannot be express in the roles occupied in the social sphere.
Canonical hours iii – of love.
The videos will appear as visions in random and unpredictable moments of the day (H24 – 7/7). This modality makes a full experience of the contents impossible, in the same way that they cannot be experienced in the church. In this way, the project, to be understood as an autonomous work of art, claims its elusive nature, just like love’s.
Faith, love, religion, all objects that we cannot fully understand, will be treated for what they are; fading, impalpabilities, evanescences, within the online display.
Between one projection and the other a soundtrack, composed for the occasion by Stephen Vitiello (with texts from Diderot, recited by Tracy Leipold and Julie Grosche), will accompany and guide the visitor in that dimension in which waiting is the time of missing itself. The soundtrack is a fundamental element of the entire project, as well as of the church; it is that which contains and connects the various videos. The soundtrack becomes the space, the space of the absent presence.
But the other is absent; I invoke the other inwardly to keep me on the brink of this mundane complacency, a temptation. I appeal to the other’s ” truth” (the truth of which the other gives me the sensation) against the hysteria of seduction into which I feel myself slipping. I make the other’s absence responsible for my worldliness: I invoke the other’s protection, the other’s return: let the other appear, take me away, like a mother who comes looking for her child, from this worldly brilliance, from this social infatuation, let the other restore to me ” the religious intimacy, the gravity” of the lover’s world.iv
i Pope Francis, from the mass for Italian parliamentarians (28 March 2014)
ii The Feast of Corpur Domini or Corpus Christi (the “Day of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ the Lord”), is a Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Western Orthodox liturgical solemnity celebrating the Real Presence of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in the elements of the Eucharist.
iii Canonical hours are an ancient subdivision of the day developed in the Catholic Church for common prayer, also known as the “Divine Office” or Opus Dei (“work of God”).
iv Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments.