FENOMENOLOGIA DEL SUBLIME

Fifty million years ago, under particular geological conditions, a magnificent Tuscan limestone called Pietra Paesina began to form. On this limestone mineral sedimentation and the slow passage of time produced incredible depictions of stormy seas, sea caves, coves and cliffs, etc. These images are so perfect that they appear to have been painted, as though nature was able through these simulacrums to portray beneath the earth’s surface what exists in the external world.

Reflecting on nature’s capacity for self-representation and mindful of the fact that we are living in a time of visual overkill where we are constantly bombarded with images from around the world, an artist’s research now uses the infinite volume of data available on the web to find a parallel image, a double.

Through a process of association, every Pietra Paesina has a matching photograph, creating a total interdependence between the two images. An aesthetic of the sublime that imposes all of nature’s greatness, a relationship so complete that it is self-sufficient, excluding the presence of humans and limiting their role to contemplation of a beauty of which they will never be part.

“This almost menacing perfection – for it rests on the absence of life, the visible stillness of death – appears in stones so variously that one might list all the endeavours and styles of human art and not find one without its parallel in mineral nature. There is nothing surprising about this: the crude attempts of that lost creature, man, could not cover more than a tiny part of the aesthetics of the universe.
No matter what image an artist invents, no matter how distorted, arbitrary, absurd, simple, elaborate, or tortured he has made it or how far in appearance from anything known or probable, who can be sure that somewhere in the world’s vast store there is not that image’s likeness, its kin or partial parallel?


Roger Caillois
In “The Writing of Stones”