The dream of a journey for Antonio Santacroce
Vincenzo Consolo


Piatto piano, 2002 Thus the epiphany, the initial scene, the dream that reappears – in bright gashes, cadences of stories, suspended gestures, anxious ostentations there consists the memory, the visual alphabet, the life in panels, in painted figures it comes back to us -: the monumental flight of steps of a temple or a piazza against the background of a mountain or a volcano, celestial mass articulated by columns, the footlight of pedagogues standing by and little boys naked of experience, schifani or sellers of craters, hydrias, ariballoi, forms of harmony, icons of myths, of decorations. The coryphée of this Attic strophe is the man that sailed over every sea, landed in every Ionian or Aegean port, refigured every fresco, every graffito. The fabulous father, Nile of signs and colours, Picasso of meetings and ferments, disclosed the seed, determined the destiny – deep, immemorial are the traces, the bearing lines of every history. And in the morning he radiantly moved the caravan of carters, went along the white track to a conference or an enterprise. The men in moleskin and cloth sang in the creaking of woods, the peal of the harness bells, the yelping of the cirnechi under the axle. A man held in his hand that of his child. Meeting every other caravan that came from everywhere, they freed the mules from yokes and trappings, they pointed the poles and the flags towards the sky – and so the boards were an oblique succession of retables of heroic deeds of king and paladins. At the extreme edge of the yellow fire, of the immense field, the supple sea of wheat, they formed a team, a firm white and black barrier of volition and hope. The magician of obscurity and the glare, bending over, cloaked in black, engraved on the plate that moment, that fleeting scene of the world, that dream of the earth. – Above her we work, we possess her reawakening moods, scattering seed, and therefore it belongs to us–. Then the team broke up, celebrated the wedding with wine and songs. The child eluded his father, the look of every other, raced, as at the call of a flute, of a distant melody. At the foot of the carob, in the wound in its trunk, screened by the grasses, he discovered the treasure, the terracotta objects, the glass ones, the light-blue and ring gold enamels: from this excavation, from this hypogeum of enchantment, from this deep and sibylline echo there started the first note, the future modulation of every song, the future was unfolded on the welding of a past, on unknown forms, abraded, pale, oxidized colours. The story now blooms on the lip of characters in mantles from a fabulous orient, an imagined Venice or Istanbul, in volutes of silk and satins on the head, in tubas, cones, they look dreamily, dwell, go, or naked are just glimpsed among curtains, scenes of intense black, they weakly crop out from the lake, in the frame of a spotted mirror. Or they are composed into dance movements, lit by a mercurial light, in the nocturnal strip of a fresco. In an Etna Pompeii, resonant from the depth of the sea of lavas, in cells, secret rooms, inviolate, they are again green blue vermilion ochre on silver and gold backgrounds, riders charioteers putti cupids, they are, in the chalky white of tunics and palliums, sibylline figures, priests of mysteries, of secret or forgotten rites. And in aedicules, in apses of temples or thermal baths, on turquoise or orange stuccoes, they are matrons Sileni little satyrs. But it is not the theatre of a real disclosure, the miracle of a recovery, the enchantment of the moment of a seething life that is arrested, it is not the poetry of ruins, the melancholy of nature, of time that devours. It is the creation of a different time, the sequence of an imagination, the living apparition of forms and colours in the dream of a journey in a Mediterranean of ancient recurrent prodigies, of deep memory that resounds in the shell, which the wave gives back to those that look for it. And then we do not know from what Crete, from what Syracuse, Tipaza or Selinunte, from what caves or labyrinths there comes to us this unexpected and fantastic carousel of lands, pigments, glutens with virginal colours, primary ones, concretions of red, of emeralds, of calcined whites that create outlines of a mythology of nymphs horses rams infernal presences birds, movements of a poem that was never written. Faced with abandonment, of longing for the happy timeless season, there is the sharp and offensive present, the refusal of abundances, thickenings, dull redundancies that wipe out, more than any lava, ash, soul, beauty, imagination. Now from the world there flee the colours, the ink figures against a white void are of a man that in the shade of a tree frees or converses with the sparrow, the chaffinch, of lovers that on the loving swing of the interlacement of hands swing the child. Or cold colours, hard ones, stridency of stones, marbles, spread out on the picture of a world without light. Go out, one has to go out of the oppressive layers, the stages of forgetfulness, irresponsibility, seek deeper down the vein, through deep excavations, dark burrows, to find the source, the chthonic source, the earthy and mighty goddess that in her womb holds every form, every sense. Through approaches, through uncertain signs, graffiti, through masks engraved on ferrous walls, through hints, projects in graphite, we reach the bottom, the cell, the sacred enclosure of the Sybil of Lilybaeum or Cuma, consistency, the volume of the goddess that has risen from the roots of time, of history, of the most ancient and newest myth. Generous, motherly, serene in regal forms, she looks beyond the anxieties, the dismays, our confused and uncertain time. In the memorial hypogeum, like a choir around the goddess, there are mutilated satyrs, bronze masks of sailors or heroes, actors in the eloquence of a gesture. In the deep omphalos, in the memory of an epiphanic vision, there return in tunnels, trenches, the mixes of Phoenician shells, glass pastes, ambers, opals, vases, cups, lekanes, fragile treasures that bear fading forms, games struggles gymnastic embraces flights abductions, joyous finds, recovery of a lost Eden, spread-out and happy orchestration of lights of tones colours forms of a dream that vanishes and returns. The dreaming painter, an inspired water diviner, against the soundless grey, the stasis that preludes silence, has discovered and given to us forgetful slaves these maps, these dazzling handwritings, this buried and vibrant life, fraught with resonances of endless beauty.

(Traduzione di Denis Gailor)