PAOLA DI BELLO
Lucciole, Paola Di Bello
30 Sep ― 7 Nov 2019

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Galleria Bianconi
via Lecco 20
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"When men came out of the Golden Age in which they lived next to the immortal gods, and then gradually when they came out of that of Silver, from that of Bronze and from that of heroes - as Esiod writes - entered in the Age of Iron, that is, the age when men became mortal, the woman began to give birth with pain, Prometheus stole the fire from the gods and Adam and Eve were driven from heaven. When therefore, men came out of these mythical ages, they entered the era, as I would call it, of the shadow. Then in fact, I imagine, their bodies and the bodies of all, animate and inanimate beings, began to cast a shadow. And this is precisely the age at which we find ourselves. At our age, the only bodies that have no shade are evidently luminous bodies. Have you ever seen the shadow of the sun? The light sources reveal the shadows of others, but they do not have their own shadow, and so also the fireflies. One could almost say that fireflies and shadows are antithetical: either there is a firefly or there is shadow. The fireflies of my works walked on a sheet of black and white photographic film, leaving then a black mark (in photography the light is black). We read this black sign as shadow (that is, our eye usually means light as light and dark as shadow). But– we have seen– fireflies, as light sources, have no shadow. So, what is the relationship between fireflies and shadow? Walt Disney shows it masterfully: Peter Pan has lost his shadow, like the Peter Schlemihl of Adalbert Von Chamisso and like The woman without a shadow of Hugo Von Hofmannsthal. Tinker Bell – his firefly friend – helps him to find it; indeed it is the firefly that finds the shadow of Peter Pan. Still in Peter Pan – whose original story is by James M. Barrie – there is another meaningful image: the firefly Tinker Bell, which is mute, must explain how to get to Peter Pan’s house in Neverland (Never-Never-Never-Land): to do this he dips her little paws in the ink and walks on a map, tracing a path made of many little black spots. We know nothing about the meaning of these paths, of these light trails. Yet Stephen Jay Gould and Ed Purcell teach us that, while in the stars, which are really randomly distributed in space, we see figures – bears, wagons, lyre– in the paths of fireflies instead there is no randomness at all rather than they are dictated by very precise distribution needs. Quoting Ed Purcell: “Note the curious psychological effect: most of us would tend to see an order in the filaments and clusters of stars, while we would mean the figures of fireflies, with their lack of apparent design, as random, but in fact, the opposite is true and our usual conceptions are wrong. To conclude, I would like to think that these signs of fireflies, that these writings are – as I hope Italo Calvino, Raymond Queneau and Georges Perec would say – a photographic Oulipo." Paola Di Bello


Catalogue
Paola Di Bello
Lucciole L06, 1988, 60 × 46 cm
€3000
Paola Di Bello
Lucciole L08, 1988, 60 × 46 cm
€3000
Paola Di Bello
Lucciole L35, 1988, 60 × 46 cm
€3000
Paola Di Bello
Lucciole L26, 1988, 60 × 46 cm
€3000
Paola Di Bello
Lucciole L40, 1988, 60 × 46 cm
€3000
Paola Di Bello
Lucciole L07, 1988, 60 × 46 cm
€3000
Paola Di Bello
Lucciole L44, 1988, 60 × 46 cm
€3000