photo Hikari Kesho
grafic prject Giovanni Sattin e Alberto Lisi
layout and print Centrooffset Master - Mestrino (Pd)
english translation Al Naber centro traduzioni Padova
japanese translation Davide Spoladori
kanji rendering Claudio Zalunardo
bibliografic research and text Michela Lazzaro
promotion and communication Studio Lbs Comunicazione Padova
casting Michela Lazzaro
the book is made by the Fedrigoni company
cover Sirio Color Nero
internal Symbol Freelife satin
pergamena GSK extra white
Left suspended / Ferruccio Giromini
This breath of spring
Does not upset, but caresses
In the evening twilight.
Fortunately, things aren’t always what they seem. Indeed, according to a point of view which may appear extremist, they hardly ever are. Certainly the causes that each time appear to be the most evident are at the most contributing causes, they are undoubtedly not the only origin of the effect we have before our eyes. There’s always something hidden behind them, at least until the moment we discover it. Then we discover that even behind that, there’s something else hidden. And so on.
If this is how things are, why do we always think and say “fortunately”? Doesn’t this emphasise the indefiniteness of reality, the elusiveness of truth, the individual’s atavic insecurity? Maybe. However, at the same time it also multiplies the combinatorial chances, it doubles the probabilities of surprise, it stimulates our own creativity and the enjoyment of the ingenuity of others.
Today also, when we have the opportunity to have more or less everything at our immediate disposal, from one point of view the conditions that can surprise us have diminished and they keep decreasing, but on the other hand the many fresh combinations produce new effects – which means fresh novelties, ready to plunge once more into the great melting pot of show business which pampers us and afflicts us with its infinite manias and cajoling.
Let’s consider the elegant new figures made by Alberto Lisi, a famous photographer on the image market, who lately has had quite enough of the market images, after a long and honourable militancy. His aesthetic and technical research takes an unexpected turn, and indeed quite a surprising one. Bound women, yes. However, this is only an appearance. Fortunately, things aren’t always what they seem.
In the last decades sexual morals have written one of the most confusing chapters of their history. A permissiveness which would have been unthinkable in the past has brought into the limelight, even through the media, coram populo, behaviours which once upon a time were always considered, in a whisper, aberrant and strictly to be condemned. At the same time, on the other plate of the scales of injustice (for we all know that justice doesn’t belong to this world), bigotries which we thought dead and buried have come back to life, newly professed by the blind faith of various religious extremists. As a result, the chaos is greater than that of past centuries and millennia (the good old days, perhaps).
The chaos is no more than a whole, of which we can capture no meaning; order instead, in so far as we can understand it, with its various significances, naturally rejects, repels and frightens us. However, fortunately again, not everybody is intimidated by it. Explorers, more or less brave, more or less foolhardy, have always existed. There’s always somebody that leaves his quiet moorings and sets out to take his chance, curious to discover some new rule, hidden in the great surrounding chaos, or maybe able to invent even newer rules on the spot, to explain some detail.
This is what has always happened, and what still happens, when confronting the endless probing of the human psyche and of its innermost mysterious engine, the rules of sexuality.
From an anthropological point of view, we know that the forms of human sexuality are essentially a response not only to the basic biological stimuli, connected to survival, the propagation of the species and the search for physiological pleasure, but also to predetermined ritual paths, which, precisely help the individual to feel good in his place in society, in the world in general and in his own self.
The acceptance and control of sexual life are at the basis of a clear relationship with the outside world – this notwithstanding impediments, traps and prohibitions by some repressive forms of religious opinions, common in Christian and Islamic countries. However, the world isn’t all the same, always fortunately. And ritual’s ways are endless.
Apart from their aesthetic value, the images of Alberto Lisi’s Boundless series are especially valuable in their content: in a way which is original and deep, as well as pleasant and apparently “light”, they lead us to consider complex and interesting problems that are definitely not insubstantial or, even worse, fashionable. According to this photographer’s art, a bound woman is not at all - sic et simpliciter - a bound woman. And we’re not faced with a common (and let’s say, often sad and overused) operation of fetishism and male supremacist prevarication; instead we surprisingly discover the ability to appreciate and share the creation of a deeply-rooted and sensible ritual. Lisi politely helps us to identify a possible new orderly way, in what we thought was chaos.
The choice of Kinbaku, a rigorous Japanese art of erotic bondage, sets the first seal of quality on the operation. Lisi himself explains his work method with passionate precision, with all the details that deserve his (and our) attention. In this case, nothing is left to chance. Or, rather, there is a “guided agreement” with chance, that might recall the discovery of the body by those who, for example, perform the art of Shiatsu massage, or the understanding of the proportions and shapes of plant elements that guides masters in Ikebana in achieving an arrangement that both pleases the eye and stimulates the intellect.
One thing that is certain, in this essentially ceremonial attitude, is the pursuit and execution of a finely studied procedure, fruit of a project which is not improvised (haste is known to be the enemy of nearly all that is good). The search for a point of balance between the fortuitous and the intentional, or rather the study of chance to obtain a non-Euclidean orderly effect, appears precisely elegant in a Japanese way.
In this sense, Lisi makes a surprising and winning choice in using, for his research, not traditional bodies, that is not slim female bodies as are usually used in the Orient for Shibari bonding, but definitely generously-built models. The rope is certainly not the subject of these images, but the woman is: intended as something big, exalted in a triumph of volumes and shadows. And the aesthetic perception of abundance has an atavic anthropological substrate, maybe even chromosome-dependant: the sensation of fullness, of a warm enveloping security.
So: discovery of beauty, creation of beauty, contemplation of beauty.
Soft masses like smooth marble.
Play and interaction of straight and curved lines, as in certain non-figurative paintings based on geometrical abstraction.
(Bamboo: flexibility but security; and hemp: soft firmness.)
The delight of abandon.
Monumental figures, meditative shapes.
The silence of meditation: emptying the mind, the near mystic regeneration of the soul.
Yes, “dynamic living sculpture” and “shared meditative practice” seem to be particularly fitting definitions.
Haiku: the sweetness of poetic contemplation: the suspension of escaping moments.
Before the literally captivating and engaging vision of these images, a sure and slow observation is required: here, everything that is not immobile moves slowly. Very slowly. In an almost imperceptible manner. And everybody, slower and more careful, more emotional and loving. We find ourselves suspended in a suspended atmosphere, amongst suspended thoughts, sometimes even holding our breath. Each weight here is suspended, light, ethereal like a frozen flash of imagination.
On the other hand what do we ask of photography today? The natural beauty of the unnatural.